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The Encinitas City Council on April 15 unanimously endorsed the concept of a community garden organized by volunteers.

Now, the Encinitas Community Garden organizing committee is looking for a parcel of land one to two acres in size. However, the city-owned site requested by representatives of user groups -- an unused parcel originally planned for a park -- was turned down by a 3-2 split of councilmembers’ votes.

The minority thought that a garden was an ideal use for the site. The majority stated they felt the property should be held for future sale to a developer.

The majority three councilmembers offered use of part of Indian Head Canyon, a property donated by a local family as undeveloped parkland. The Community Garden committee feels this specific parcel is unusable as a garden because it is habitat for wildlife. -- Sanford Shapiro, Encinitas Parks Commissioner

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Comments

sdsavage July 12, 2009 @ 10:47 p.m.

I live near Indian Head Canyon and even though I'm a few blocks away, the "wildlife habitat" issue works in reverse for gardeners. Unless I completely net my garden or orchard or vineyard, the Racoons,and possoms get most of it. You could put a public garden at the area near Quail Garden road, but unless it was seriously protected it would just be a way to feed wildlife. I'm not complaning about this "interface with nature" that we have. Its just the reality of living in this great place.

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seahorse July 16, 2009 @ 8:13 a.m.

Indian Head was set aside as wildlife open space.

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Leucadian July 16, 2009 @ 2:31 p.m.

When Encinitas Ranch was developed, the Quail Gardens site was part of land given to the City so that a school could be built there. However with declining enrollment, no school is needed. That land should still be for public use, as was intended.

The three men on Encinitas City Council, Jerome Stocks, Dan Dalager and James Bond are presently so enmeshed, so "in bed" with developers that they cannot "see the forest for the trees." They seem to feel that the primary value of land is profit, for the developers and through the developers, for the city in fees and property taxes. To them, the highest value is money. However, quality of life is the true value for ourselves and future generations. To have a public garden at the Quail Gardens site would be beneficial for the entire community, allowing more people to walk or ride bikes there, contributing to much needed open space.

Having a community garden at the Quail Gardens site would be an asset to the City and to all the residents here, also attracting tourists. Another possible site could be the former Pacific View elementary school site. Just over .85 acre could be purchased there for 25 cents on the dollar of the appraised value for that piece, through the Naylor Act.

Any appraisal report for the Pacific View site must take into consideration the CURRENT ZONING, which is public, semi-public, not residential, and the fact that no new water meter permits are being issued for residential or commercial use in our city due to the Stage II drought which we are now in.

That beautiful site, over four fifths of an acre, should be able to be purchased for under one million dollars. This is essentially "chump change" for a City such as Encinitas which spends millions on contractors and consultants, even when the economy is in a recession. Recently a non-profit foundation was set up, in cooperation with the City to purchase the Boathouses, here, as historical landmarks, for low income housing. A similar foundation could be set up for the City to purchase a portion of the surplus school property, whether Pacific View, or to develop the Quail Gardens site as a community garden, WHICH SITE WAS GIVEN TO THE CITY TO BE USED FOR A SCHOOL, so that the City already owns it!

Developing a community garden at the Quail Gardens site and/or the Pacific View site would be a wonderful gesture on the part of all Council Members who support it, and part of their legacy. Dan Dalager often brags about his friendship with Bob Nanninga, recently deceased, passing away this past Valentine's Day. Bob was an environmentalist, strongly promoted a community garden, including, specifically, saving the Pacific View School and the Quail Gardens sites for open space, gardens and for greener, sustainable community areas where we, the voters and taxpaying citizens, would be able to grow more of our own food, and to enjoy fresh air and enhanced community character. This issue can and should be reagendized.

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