Homeless parking could be moved to Encinitas community center


Operators of an overnight homeless parking lot will seek permission from Encinitas city council to move their operation from a private farm site to the city’s community and senior center.

The Jewish Family Service’s agreement for its current site – a small parking lot in the center of the Leichtag Foundation farm property and accessible via Quail Gardens Drive – is due to expire on November 30.

JFS is instead proposing to move the program to the lower part of the community center parking lot, where it would operate under the same restrictions as at the Leichtag site, the council’s agenda documents say. Among other things, the maximum number of vehicles using the new site would remain at a maximum of 25; security guards on site would be present during lot opening hours; and the grounds would open every evening at 6 p.m. and everyone would be required to leave by 7 a.m. the next day.

Eligible participants must have a working vehicle and be pre-screened off-site before they can enter the grounds and park overnight.

Funded primarily by state grants, the Safe Parking Lot program aims to prevent new homeless people from becoming permanently homeless by providing them with a safe space to sleep in their vehicles while they search for permanent housing and obtain l help from social service organizations. The organizers point out that their program serves people with vehicles, or people they describe as the “invisible” homeless population. It does not serve the people the general public most often associates with homelessness – people who have been homeless for years, do not own a vehicle, sleep in the bushes in makeshift campsites, and may have problems with their life. addiction or mental health.

Earlier this year, Leichtag officials asked JFS to start taking steps to move the Safe Parking Lot program, noting that they had initially agreed to host the program as a pilot and not on a permanent basis. The town of Encinitas is involved as it leases the parking property from Leichtag and then contracts with JFS to operate it.

During Wednesday’s meeting, city council will consider the new resettlement proposal, decide whether to ask city employees to create a new agreement, and consider a city ordinance establishing standards and procedures for the operation of facilities. land.

The meeting, which takes place online, begins at 6 p.m., but in order to provide public comment on the agenda item, people must register before 4 p.m. that day. To register, visit: https://encinitas.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JlKE2KRLRLKGB9wgPsx-6Q

People who register will not be shown on video; their comments will be audio only. As a rule of thumb, the standard limit for public speaking time for most agenda items is three minutes per person, but for controversial topics in which dozens of speakers can participate, individual speaking time can be reduced, often to two minutes each.

It is also possible to submit comments in advance by e-mail. These emails will be distributed to city council members and recorded in the official meeting minutes, but will not be read aloud during the meeting, according to information on the city’s agenda. To participate in this way, people must submit their emails by 3:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Public comments on the article should be lengthy. By the end of last week, more than 20 people had already emailed comments. All opposed the proposal and said the community center site was a very poor choice for homeless parking.

Located at the busy intersection of Balour Drive and Encinitas Boulevard, the community center is adjacent to Oak Crest Middle School, Boys and Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, and a municipal park. It is also within walking distance of several kindergartens. It is a very different location from the current site, which sits in the middle of Leichtag’s agricultural property, is accessible by a private, closed road and is not visible from public roads, opponents stressed.

“Please tell me our town hasn’t gone mad,” Encinitas resident Karlyn Bornholdt wrote in her email comments. “It’s not a good idea to put addicted and mentally unstable homeless people in a lot next to Oak Crest Middle School and the community center where the kids play sports. I can’t believe this is even being considered.

Lucile Lynch, the acting superintendent of the San Dieguito Union school district, wrote that she wanted city officials to remove the topic from the council’s agenda and meet with district officials to discuss the impact of the proposal on the adjacent college.

Others said the parking lot should stay where it is currently on the Leichtag property, or move to various other locations – everything from gas station sites to town hall were suggested.

To view Wednesday’s meeting live or later as recorded, visit: https://encinitasca.gov/Government/Agendas-Webcasts

About Elaine Morales

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