ENCINITAS, Calif. — In a tight vote from the Encinitas city council Wednesday, members voted three-to-two to designate nearly 10 acres on Quail Gardens Drive as surplus land, opening the pathway for future a 100% affordable housing project.

There were strong feelings on both sides of the discussion. 

“Why now?” asked local resident Scott Peterson. “Why can’t we wait until we see how these projects that are are happening mature?”

Residents living near the land spoke out with concern and hesitation over the potential of any development, when the area already has other approved housing projects in motion as well.

“You’ve already approved in the past council 2,500 housing units, and of that 1,100 are low and very low income affordable housing units,” said local resident Elena Thompson.

However, there were several other Encinitas residents who came to advocate for the idea of more affordable housing.

“My question isn’t why now, but rather my statement is thank you,” said local Mali Woods-Drake.

While the council has already found this piece of land appropriate for a 100% affordable housing project, they say it would not be high density.

The question at hand Wednesday was whether to propel that process forward by declaring the property as “surplus land” to better meet state requirements.

Ultimately, the council approved that motion with Mayor Tony Kranz and councilmember Bruce Ehlers voting against the surplus land declaration, saying there was no need to rush the process.

Councilmembers in favor of the declaration noted robust community discussion and input would begin early 2024.