Update: Results mixed for Carlsbad’s Measure O and Encinitas’ Measure T

It’s mixed results for two local propositions in Carlsbad and Encinitas.

Measure O, a Carlsbad initiative to rebuild an aging fire station, appears to be headed toward an easy victory, while Measure T, which calls on Encinitas to adopt a “housing element,” is losing.

According to the latest update released Monday night by the San Diego County Registrar of voters, Measure O, which has attracted little opposition, is ahead 71.35 percent to 28.65 percent, with 36,649 Carlsbad voters casting their ballots in favor of the initiative and just 14,714 against.

Measure T, meanwhile, is losing 56.27 percent to 43.73 percent. Despite unanimous support from the fractious Encinitas City Council, the initiative so far has been rejected by 16,359 voters, against 12,713 voters in favor of the measure.

Approximately 164,000 mail and provisional ballots remain to be counted, although it is unclear how many are from Encinitas.

Measure O seeks voter approval to spend up to $10.5 million in general fund money to rebuild the city of Carlsbad’s Fire Station No. 2, at El Camino Real and Arenal Road.

Under a Carlsbad law passed in 1982, any general fund expenditure of more than $1 million requires voter approval.

Replacing the tiny single-story, wood-shingled fire station is expected to cost between $7 million and $10.5 million, according to an impartial analyst by the Carlsbad city attorney’s office.

Measure O requires approval by a simple majority (50% plus one vote).

The ballot measure has attracted no opposition and, in fact, no argument against Measure O was filed in the city clerk’s office.

Measure T seeks approval from Encinitas voters for a “housing element” to bring the city in compliance with state affordable-housing targets.

Under California law, each governing body of a local government is required to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the city or county. The housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the local general plan. Housing element law, enacted in 1969, requires local governments to adequately plan to meet the housing needs of all economic segments of the community, including those with low and very low incomes.

But the sky-high cost of land and housing near the water makes it difficult for coastal towns like Encinitas and Carlsbad to comply with this law – a difficulty compounded by concerns about traffic, congestion and preserving the character of coastal communities.

As controversial as the plan is, only one of the five candidates for City Council came out against Measure T – Tony Brandenburg, a planning commissioner “Proposition T deserves the vote of the people, but keep in mind, if passed it does not guarantee a single ‘low cost or affordable home’ will be built,” he said. “I cannot support it. However, it is up to the electorate to decide.”

Measure T repeals the existing housing element of the General Plan, “and enacts a new housing element that locates new potential housing sites, and incentivizes their development to allow for new housing, typically with mixed land uses,” according to an analysis by the Encinitas City Attorney’s Office. The measure ups the density in certain areas, like the Highway 101 Corridor, by raising the height limit to three stories, allowing ground-floor residential units, calling for more mixed-use development, and easing restrictions on subdividing.

The Encinitas City Council voted unanimously to place the issue on the ballot, and current members see it as something of a necessary evil, to bring the city in compliance with state law and avoid costly litigation.


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