Leucadia shop talk soon to stop

“With zoning, I don’t know if the owner can move.”

North County Equipment
  • North County Equipment

An eight-unit, three-story, residential, and commercial development in Leucadia will soon replace two businesses and a home, including North County Equipment, one of the last North County small-machine repair shops.

The shop’s manager, Shane, says he understands they have until around February to close or find another location. “With zoning, I don’t know if the owner can move,” he said. It isn’t for lack of business, Shane says. Repairs — mostly for landscaping companies — are backed up for a week.

The 20-year-old shop sells and services gas-powered lawn mowers, chainsaws, and edgers. “We have a lot of homeowners that use us, too,” said Shane as a customer walked in with his non-functioning chainsaw.

“I don’t know where I’d go if they closed,” the customer said.

Shane pointed out that no one services electrical tools anymore. (The last San Diego County electrical tool service center closed in 2014.)

Electric tools have a life expectancy of only two to three years. Companies don’t make extra parts for them other than batteries. If still under warranty, it’s cheaper for the company to just replace the unit rather than maintain a complete parts inventory. “I have every part for every item we sell,” said Shane.

The building was once a gas station along a busy Old Highway 101 corridor, until I-5 opened in 1965, and killed all of the area’s stations. “Our shop building was actually a bar at one time. You can still read some of the customer’s names written on the concrete floor,” said Shane.

Should North County Equipment exit permanently, that leaves only three other shops in North County that service landscaping machines and equipment: Cutter’s Source in Oceanside, and Lawn Mower Plus and Harrison’s Equipment in San Marcos.

The Encinitas City Council approved the mixed-use condo project, to be known as the Beacons, on November 9. After an hour of public testimony, most in opposition, opponents claimed the three-story building is not aligned with the character of Leucadia. “Too much glass and steel,” said one resident to the council.

After the council meeting, the residents met outside the chambers to commiserate. “As usual [the city council] went for the businesses once again,” said resident Mikayla McFadden.

Another resident said that two days before the meeting, he was standing on street corners holding campaign signs for some of the councilmembers who had won reelection on November 8. “Now I’m fucked,” he said, of the council’s 4-0 vote.

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What is happening in the Courts about density bonus - The Council's consultant attorney works at this firm - http://goldfarblipman.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Law-Alert-10-11-16-Wipe-Out-Coastal-Act-Supersedes-Density-Bonus-and-Mello-Act-Development-Protections.pdf

"KALNEL GARDENS BACKGROUND AND HOLDING In Kalnel Gardens, a developer applied to the City of Los Angeles to construct a 15-unit housing project in Venice on a site within the coastal zone. The project included two units for very-low-income households, which, pursuant to the Density Bonus Act, entitled it to more units, greater height, and smaller setbacks than would otherwise be permitted on the project site under local regulations. The City denied the developer's application on the grounds that the project's height, mass, and scale were harmful to the surrounding neighborhood, and therefore violated the visual and scenic compatibility requirements of the City's local coastal program and the Coastal Act."

The Appeals Court upheld the Trial Court's decision for the City of Los Angeles denial of the density bonus development.

Why isn't the Encinitas Council and Planning Department discussing this court decision? Instead, the Council continues to approve developments that are harmful to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Within the last six years the Encinitas City Council has openly changed the city's General Plan goals of protecting the environment and community to their goal of aggressive development. A recall may get their attention.

Electing people like Gaspar, a republican puppet, doesn't help keep the funky beach town keep its identity. Nothing will stop this, and expect even more aggressive development in Leucadia. It will follow Laguna Beach to a place were only the 1% can afford to live and only the wealthiest tourists can afford to visit. I give it 10 years.

Oh, and you need a lawn mower, weed wacker, et. al. fixed there are many places. But you have to drive south out of the whitetosphere and into the hood... like Art’s Lawnmower Shop in Spring Valley. He's just one of many in the South and East County that still fix stuff while you North County folks go out and buy a new one.

It may not be necessary to drive that far to find repair shops and other servicing facilities, but those coastal cities (with the exception of Oceanside) don't want them in sight. Carlsbad pushed out my favorite body shop a few years ago, and now it is in either Oceanside or Vista. As far as lawn mower shops go, there are two in Vista that were not mentioned. I do tend to rely on Harrison's in San Marcos for my parts and service. There are more things that we can expect to see developed in Leucadia, such as those construction materials yards that face onto Vulcan Avenue.

The aggressive development culprits on the Council are the three majority of Kranz, Shaffer, and Blakespear and previously Barth as Mayor. Gaspar and Muir joined in but the three majority pulled the strings for development.

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