Friday, October 28, 2005

Barratt Required to Test Soils on West Tract

A series of emails between Michael Schwaebe and the City follows. The final email states: "Greg has informed Barratt that soils testing will be required on all lots prior rough grading sign-off and release for construction of the housing." The "Greg" referred to is Greg Shields, head of the engineering dept. for the City of Encinitas. Michael prevailed!!!

Forwarded by MICHAEL SCHWAEBE/SONGS/SCE/EIX on 10/25/2005 05:35 PM

"Peter Cota-Robles"
To Michael Schwaebe
10/25/2005 05:27 PM
cc "Greg Shields"
Subject Re: Potential Health Risk at Encinitas Tract 03-009, Barrett at SheridanandAndrew

Michael - Greg has informed Barratt that soils testing will be required on all lots prior rough grading sign-off and release for construction of the housing. Greg can provide you more detail if needed. - Peter

Peter Cota-Robles
Director of Engineering Services
City of Encinitas
505 S. Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, CA 92024

>>> 10/25/2005 5:16:19 PM >>>
Dear Peter, Greg, et al I have not heard back on a resolution to my
request to perform representaive soil testing at the Sheridan/Andrew Barrett project. Would you please give me an update. Thanks, MIchael

09/19/2005 10:13 AM
cc"Greg Shields", "James Knowlton", "Masih Maher"
, "Patrick Murphy"
Re: Potential Health Risk at Encinitas Tract 03-009, Barrett at Sheridan andAndrew

Michael - Thank you for documenting these concerns. I am referring your e-mail to Greg Shields and Jim Knowlton, our geotechnical consultant, for review. We will get back to you shortly. - Peter

Peter Cota-Robles
Director of Engineering Services
City of Encinitas
505 S. Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, CA 92024
>>> 9/17/2005 5:39:02 PM >>>

Peter Cota-Robles, P.E.
Director of Engineering Services
City of Encinitas

Subject: Potential Health Risk at Encinitas Tract 03-009, Barrett at Sheridan and Andrew

This letter is a request to evaluate potential health risks from soils that are potentially contaminated with greenhouse agricultural chemicals in Tract 03-009.

Tract 03-009, and the adjacent site, were excavated down approximately 2’
feet below grade. Approximately 8000 cubic yards were cut from the adjacent site and moved to 03-009 to make the final pad heights. There was no soil testing for agricultural chemicals below grade on either site.

Various reports from Leighton and Gradient document soils testing to a depth of 0” to 6”, find contaminants less than EPA limits, and conclude that these findings are similar to other studies where no significant sub su! rface contamination was found. No documentation of nega! tive su b surface soil test reports or literature searches for similar applications were provided to substantiate the conclusion.

The City’s soil consultant challenged the soil report conclusions as unacceptable, and determined that representative sub surface soil tests were needed to assure that there are no health risks from agricultural chemicals at this site, e.g., soil testing for agricultural chemicals is needed to assure that this project meets the standards of the City of Encinitas and that there is no possibility of worker, resident and neighbor exposure to hazardous materials.

Would you please assure that representative soil testing of Tract 03-009 is part of the final grading inspection. I suggest sampling at six sites on the surface, and at 1’ and 2’ below finished pad height.

Thank you, Michael Schwaebe

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nantucket CPP Meeting 10/18/05

Tuesday night’s Barratt-American CPP meeting for the east project was attended by about two dozen people. Barratt seemed to have little interest in input from the group and seemed to suggest they were just there to fulfill a City requirement. The Barratt people did have a lot of interest in justifying the development. Justification consisted mostly of “we’re allowed to do that.” The architect insisted the houses are unique and fit in with the funky character of Leucadia. The project engineer again insisted the pad heights were necessitated by sewer line fall requirements. This, in spite of the third analysis showing pad heights to be from almost 2 feet to over 5 feet higher than necessary. They did suggest they would consider lowering ceiling heights a foot or so to lower the elevation profiles and will consider using lighter colors rather than the dark gloomy colors shown in the renderings. They also will consider revising the driveway for the corner lot at Andrew and Sheridan so the occupants won’t have to back their cars into Sheridan when leaving.

The project manager, Janice Patterson, said there are people in the neighborhood who support the development but don’t make their opinions known because they are intimidated by the rest of us. They had computer generated three dimensional renderings of the houses in the west tract, including aerial views. They are atrocious: huge, looming, out of scale, architectural details emphasizing the massive appearance, totally out of context with the community. Wait ‘til you see them!

Barratt is still insistent that they deserve a “custom home exemption” for the tract and will pursue that exemption before the Planning Commission. We need to show up for that meeting when the project in on the agenda.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Flower family hopes sad story hits paydirt

Encinitas calls itself the “Flower Capital of the World,” which confuses many visitors. After all, even the most brain-dead ’Zonie knows the famous flower fields are actually in Carlsbad. The only overt sign of flowers in Encinitas are the buckets of plastic-wrapped roses for sale in the local 7-Eleven.

Encinitas proclaims itself the “Flower Capital of World” primarily due its status as the home to the Paul Ecke Ranch, the company that almost single-handedly turned poinsettias into an annoying Christmas tradition.

More than 70 percent of the poinsettias grown in North America and more than 50 percent of the poinsettias sold worldwide originate at the Ecke Ranch, according to the company. So maybe Flower Capital of the World is a bit of reach, but at the very least the city could legitimately call itself the Poinsettia Capital of the World.

But there is a wee bit of a problem. The Eckes say they can no longer afford to compete in the cutthroat flower biz unless they upgrade their facilities and “modernize” their greenhouses. To raise money, they want the city to allow them to build more than 200 houses on some of their land zoned for agriculture.

Cutting through the fertilizer, the Eckes are, in fact, simply pointing out that growing condos in Encinitas is far more profitable than growing flowers.

The Eckes’ operation is based on choice land on the hillside just east of I-5, the type of location that makes for developer wet dreams. When the family first moved to the area in 1923, Encinitas was just another dot on the map, a cool place to surf and camp on the beach. There was no interstate, never mind a Taco Bell.

Needless to say, that was long ago, as anyone who has driven Encinitas Boulevard on a Friday night can attest. The Ecke property is now smack dab in the middle of one of the hottest real-estate markets south of Irvine, a thriving metropolis of tract homes, fast food chains, Super Target stores and swell car washes.

To a very large degree, the Eckes have already cashed in on the rush to pave Encinitas. In the mid-’90s they sold off 850 acres of prime hillside land that was carved into a sea of stucco, shopping centers and various city-approved recreational facilities. At the time, they whined about “saving the ranch,” arguing that unless they could plant more townhomes, the flower business might have to move to, say, Fallbrook. Apparently the millions they earned off that deal wasn’t enough, and now the Eckes are once again tossing out the sob story.

In essence, they’re saying that developing the land is the only way to raise capital to save the poinsettia business. They can’t get a bank loan. They can’t run up the old credit card. They absolutely must build more than 200 houses on one of the last greenbelts left in the area, or the Ecke Ranch will go bye-bye.

Since the Ecke Ranch is a private company and doesn’t release any details, the city will have to take the Eckes’ word that times are real tough in the poinsettia game, despite the family’s dominance of the industry.

Much like the Chargers and Padres, the Eckes say they are committed to staying in town—even while they’re threatening to leave if they don’t get their way. They also play the “jobs card,” noting as often as possible that the ranch employs more than 300 employees “during peak seasons,” making it “one of the largest private employers in north San Diego County.”

The Eckes don’t explain how many people they employ outside “peak seasons,” nor how many of those employees are “poinsettia waterers.” But even if the plans are approved, the Eckes’ poinsettia operation will dwindle to a skimpy 20 acres, and it certainly won’t create new jobs or grow the all-mighty tax base.

In other words, the Eckes’ core business these days is really land development. No matter how they spin it, their motivation to “raise capital” is the same as every other developer who would like to “raise capital” by turning farmland into a row of duplexes. The Eckes are simply using the flower business as a front, asking for special favors in order to subsidize a less profitable aspect of their business. It’s the same as Alex Spanos asking for a variance to build apartments on city controlled open space simply because the Chargers suck.

Any other landowner in Encinitas would have to get on all fours and squeal like a pig to get prime land rezoned for another grove of stucco palaces. After all, city leaders hold all the cards in these little poker tourneys.

The smart move would be for the city to tell the Eckes, “Eat me.” Save the land. Make ’em sweat. If the Eckes really need the big payday, they’ll come back with a better plan, one that might actually help the city’s quality of life.

Instead, the Encinitas city leaders are negotiating like crack ’hos desperate for a fix. They’re fast-tracking the project, rubber-stamping every new development proposal from the Eckes, pursuing the same shrewd community planning strategy that turned the El Camino Real corridor into a clogged land of Long John Silver franchises.

If they keep it up, no one will call it the “Flower Capital of the World” anymore, even if the Eckes keep their operation alive. Heck, they won’t even call it Encinitas. It will be known simply as “South Tustin.”

Write to and editor@SD

Thursday, September 22, 2005

An Amazing Jack Orr Column

In case you missed it, here is Jack "The Gullible" Orr's recent NTC "Community Forum" column giving us some free press for our cause. It is interesting that he got sucked into the same stuff the City Council did. Given Orr's disdain for facts, it is no surprise that he practically sets new standards for lies, hypocrisy, and "speaking falsely in public" of which he accuses us.

You just might want to let the NTC and their readers know what you think. The column appeared in the Tuesday, September 20, edition.

"Red shirts, dirty dirt and blatant hypocrisy

"Any change in land use inevitably brings out a swarm of NIMBYs, naysayers, and, unfortunately, no few hypocrites. Exaggerated arguments and outlandish hyperbole are routinely employed to attack even the best development. Such was the case in Encinitas last month.

"At issue was a pricy 18-unit development in Leucadia. Why the opposition? Although no one would come out and say it, the neighbors just didn't like one of the property owners. So the organized opponents attacked with specious technical arguments instead, hoping the "noble end" would justify the means.

"Approximately 15 Leucadians, decked out in similar red shirts ---- solidarity, don't you know ---- appeared for an Encinitas City Council meeting pressing a fight that had already been decided. The property owner had completed the extensive planning process, received the green light from city staff, and had several permits in hand. The purpose of the City Council meeting was to ensure that the home builder, Barratt American, was meeting development agreements.

"First, the red shirts said they had not been properly notified. City staff and the developer presented three pieces of mail that had been sent to every neighbor. The property owner also showed that several large colorful signs had been posted on the property for over a year explaining what was going to happen. A community outreach meeting had been held a year earlier. Only two people attended the meeting. So much for the "I wasn't told" argument. Strike one.

"Second, the red shirts claimed the project didn't have a grading plan. Wrong again. The developer had both a legal plan and permit. Strike two.

"Then it got surreal. The red shirts said the developer was in violation of the permit, which just moments before they said he didn't have, because the dirt was piled up too high. Wrong again. City staff testified that the developer was in compliance ---- to the exact height the permit called for.

"Strike three.

"Three strikes usually means you are out. Not in this ball field. Faced with defeat, the red shirts proclaimed that the dirt was "dirty," i.e., polluted, but offered no evidence. Turns out the soil had been tested and retested, as required, and would be tested again. All the tests were on file. Wrong again. Strike four.

"Finally, having fanned on four false arguments, the red shirts criticized the architecture, which they had not seen, because it did not exist. Wrong again. Strike five.

"The democratic process is lengthy and untidy at best. Lying and hypocrisy simply create a bigger mess for elected bodies to deal with and ultimately cost each and every taxpayer wasted time and money. The way to ensure a quality development is simple ---- demand the best and demand the truth.

"Reject those who speak falsely in public. The ends are not "noble" if the means are dishonest. And the owner of the property is immaterial."

Jack Orr lives in Oceanside.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Leucadia Median Beautification Project

Leucadia-Encinitas Hwy 101 Main Street Association
Dedicated to the historic preservation and revitalization of Leucadia’s North Hwy 101 Corridor

Leucadia Median Beautification Project

In Co-operation with the City of Encinitas and
The Leucadia 101 Main Street Association

How you can help:

For just $5.00 you can “adopt” a plant for the Median Beautification Project and receive a “Proud Parent” card. The medians on Hwy 101 to be planted are the three north and three south of Leucadia Blvd.

But wait there’s more…. for $50.00 you can adopt 10 plants, receive a “Proud Parent” card AND a sticker for your business, home or car window.

ð Yes! I would like to donate $5.00 and be a Proud Parent of a plant for the Leucadia Median Project.

ð Yes! I would like to donate $50.00 and be a Proud Parent of a plant for the Leucadia Median Project.


Address, City and Zip _______________________________________
Thank You!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Murphy "Update" on Barratt Projects

From: "Patrick Murphy"
To: ,,
Cc: "Bill Weedman" ,
...snip... "Peter Cota-Robles"
Subject: Update for the Andrew / Sheridan projects

The attachments provide an update and response to several issues raised by the Andrew / Sheridan community regarding the two projects located on Andrew Avenue and Sheridan Road. It is hoped that the attached information clarifies any issues and / or answers questions.
Also attached is an aerial photo of the original greenhouses to help provide some orientation.
I appreciated your patience in allowing staff to respond to the issues raised.
Patrick Murphy
Director of Planning and Building



CASE NOS. 03-009 & 04-066

(July 27, 2005)

This is to provide an update on the Barratt projects located at Andrew Avenue and Sheridan Road. The two projects total 18 lots (9 lots each) for single family homes. Grading is occurring on both subdivisions. Both maps were approved as density bonus projects and both subdivisions will include one affordable unit.

Case #03-009 – The westerly 9-lot subdivision located on Andrew Avenue received tentative map approval on August 21, 2003, and final map approval some time ago. Grading permits have been issued. A Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was recently approved for 8 custom homes in 2005. An existing home is located on one of the 9 lots. Barratt is currently in plan check for the eight homes and received a custom-lot exemption from Design Review. All appeal periods for the approvals have concluded. Public notice was provided for the Tentative Map and for the CDP. In addition, staff required two CPP’s (Citizen Participation Plans); one for the tentative map and one for the 8 custom homes. The more recent CPP notified 54 people (44 property owners and 10 residents) along with the Leucadia Town Council. All of the floor plans and elevations were part of the information for review by the public.

Case # 04-066 – The 9-lot subdivision (located immediately east of the project identified above) is located at the northwest corner of Sheridan Road and Andrew Avenue. This project received approval of the tentative map on October 21, 2004. This included grading approval for the future homes. This has resulted in a 3’ retaining wall on the north edge with a minor slope (2’ to 3’) and a 4’ fence on top of slope. The Final Map is currently being reviewed and anticipated to be approved by the Planning Commission on August 4, 2005. A Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application has not been submitted and a custom-lot exemption from Design Review has not been made. Due to the controversy, staff has indicated to Barratt that their CDP would be referred to the Planning Commission for action pursuant to Section 2.28.090G of the Municipal Code. Currently grading is occurring on this site. Engineering authorized the removal of 20,000 cubic yards of dirt from the City’s property on La Costa Avenue. The City experienced significant run off and erosion impacting La Costa Avenue and Batiquitos Lagoon, which presented an emergency situation that needed to be addressed. Barratt was able to accommodate the dirt.

Staff and the applicant met with the neighborhood on-site on July 21, 2005 to address a number of their issues regarding the two projects. Approximately 50 people attended.

1) Grading. The amount of fill associated with the project(s) to create the building pads was a concern along with the associated view blockage. Additionally, the citizens were concerned that due to the amount of fill the pads would not be level with the street, the future homes would be overlooking existing homes and the project would not be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Response: The elevation of the lot pads was required for both projects to provide gravity flow sewer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Stocks' "Facts" on Barratt Project

From: "Jerome Stocks"
Date: Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:31:38 PM US/Pacific
To: "Christy Guerin" , "Dan Dalager" , "Jim Bond" , "Maggie Houlihan" , >
Cc: "Bill Weedman"
Subject: Re: Sheridan/Andrew development

Dear Ms. Ranson;
It appears there is a difference of opinion on annumber of factors:
The Facts are as follows: The folowing is from the gentleman that processed the map that created the current map.
1) Mr. Marino was in the notice area and received three (3) separate notices of the project (the Citizens Participation Program, Environmental review and the Planning Commission hearing). We never received a single comment from Mr. Marino.

2) As you know we were required to place a Public Notice Card (Green) on the site. We did so, both on Andrew Avenue and Sheridan. Those cards were posted for in excess of twelve (12) months. Many neighbors must have driven by the postings many times.

3) Additionally, both the environmental review and planning commission hearings were publicly noticed.

4) The pad heights were ONLY raised to make the sewer and drainage work to the City's MINIMUM standards. In fact, I personally worked for nine (9) months to obtain a series of private drainage easements to minimize the grading. These easements allowed a significant lowering of the pads at the rear of the project. Obtaining these easements cost me in excess of $30,000, an expenditure I did not have to bear, but I believed it to be the right thing for the project and was sensitive to the neighbors.

5) The greenhouses that covered over 90% of the site had heights that approached 30' and ran the length of the site (see attached photo). I doubt that the removal of the greenhouses and replacement with houses will in any meaningful way affect anyone's previous views. In fact, there is a likelihood that some will enjoy improved views.
But I thnk you for taking the time to let me know you are concerned about this project.

Jerome Stocks
Council Menber
City of Encinitas

How to contact Barratt

Michael D. Pattinson, Pres. & CEO
Barratt American Inc.
5950 Priestly Drive
Carlsbad Ca 92008

Phone: 800-295-0096

Nantucket Proj. Mgr.: Janice Patterson, 760/461-0800, x259 (she is at the Carlsbad address)

Web Site: