Should our coastal community protect its unique “small beach town” identity, or meet mandates that shape its growth?

That’s the discussion happening in just about every city in coastal North County: In Oceanside, it’s over the Coast Highway Vision Plan; in Carlsbad, its Village and Barrio plan; and in Encinitas, voters are deciding whether they will adopt a new housing element, a state-required plan that shows where the city would allow more density.

And like Encinitas, where residents have given themselves a direct say in land use planning, Del Mar is considering its own “slow-growth” initiative.

Measure R, as it will appear on the ballot, would require voters to approve any development over 25,000 square feet that requires a zoning change, or that would exceed size and density limits.

“Measure R essentially says that major zoning changes are far too important to the residents of Del Mar to be left up to just a handful of people,” Roger Arnold, a supporter of Measure R, argued at a forum last week,

Although in the case of the 48-unit condo complex near the fairgrounds that sparked the push for Measure R, that “handful of people” includes the city’s Planning Department, Planning Commission, Design Review Board and City Council.

Opponents argued that it would ultimately make it difficult to meet state housing mandates in the future, as we’ve seen in Encinitas.

North County Nixes Mixed-Use

Plans to create a downtown for San Marcos, known as the San Marcos Creek Specific Plan, appear to be washed up.

The effort was an attempt to guide policy and private development by bringing residential, retail and office space to a 214-acre area and craft a walkable downtown. But at a workshop on Tuesday, consultants recommended overhauling the plan, and scrapping almost all of the retail and commercial space, the Union-Tribune reports.

The city has already built two bridges and upgraded nearby roads, and while some development has occurred developers have largely been slow to get their feet wet in the Creekside District.

Similar changes have been proposed in Oceanside at El Corazon, a 465-acre park, where the original vision called for a limited number of residential units to accompany retail and commercial in a mixed-use “village,” with more commercial at a strip mall on Oceanside Boulevard.

Earlier this year, the city modified part of the plan to allow most of the retail to be moved out of the village, to the strip mall. Now the city is considering boosting the number of homes allowed at yet another site, from 32 to 70.

For both projects, the Creekside District and El Corazon, developers and their supporters say the region just needs more housing right now.

Issa and Applegate Go Low

“I hope you can get the DNC to spend $8 million to make this an interesting race,” Rep. Darrell Issa told Doug Applegate at an Independence Day parade, according to a story posted on Applegate’s website.

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Applegate haven’t quite spent that much, they have released a pair of ads this week tying Issa, a prominent Donald Trump supporter, to Trump’s comments in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women. The ads appeared on YouTube, and aired in Orange County and San Diego.

Issa, for his part, put out an ad featuring former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani criticizing Applegate for attacking Issa’s record regarding Sept. 11 victims and their families. And two days ago, Issa put out a second ad attacking Applegate based on information from court records during his divorce in 2000.

This race has been closer than Issa perhaps wishes, but this week, both sides have really turned up the heat.

Also in the News

 A writer who grew up in Oceanside is releasing her debut novel – “one of the fall’s biggest literary debuts,” according to the New York Times – about getting out of Oceanside.

 Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar called for open discussion on the terms of a lease for the Pacific View property, alleging that three members of the Council violated the Brown Act by discussing the property earlier that day. (Del Mar Times)

 Vista is pulling the plug on red light cameras. (Union-Tribune)

 Del Mar is looking to partner with larger cities in North County, and latch on to their ability to buy power through community choice aggregation. (The Coast News)

 Carlsbad will host a discussion on how the city can deal with rising sea levels. (Union-Tribune)

 Oceanside is finalizing plans for a $12 million aquatics center, but still doesn’t have a way to pay for it. (The Coast News)

 Even after Oceanside complied with a court order to relax its zoning ordinance governing tattoo parlors over freedom of speech concerns, the owner of a planned shop is doubling down on his lawsuit. (Union-Tribune)

 After being threatened with lawsuits, San Marcos has adopted district-based elections. (The Coast News)

 Oceanside will hold a town hall discussion on gang violence. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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