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45-Day Building Moratorium Ordered in Cardiff : Houses Block View, Neighbors Complain

June 11, 1987|ANTHONY PERRY | Times Staff Writer

The Encinitas City Council has slapped a 45-day building moratorium on most of Cardiff following a citizens advisory group's complaint about the proliferation of wide and tall duplexes blocking views of the ocean.

The Cardiff Town Council, which advises the City Council, would like a height limit imposed, as well as ordinances protecting the view between homes and requiring homeowners to trim their trees. The council ordered planning staffers to prepare a report on the issue for a July 6 public hearing.

"We are not attempting to block all building," said John Davis, a Cardiff insurance broker who is president of the Town Council. "But we believe new building should not infringe on the property rights of other people."

Time Out 'Appropriate'

City Manager Warren Shafer said the staff report will consider the suggestions by the Town Council, as well as other ways to protect Cardiff's seaside charm. "The council simply decided it was appropriate to call a time out to development," he said.

The moratorium, adopted by a 4-1 vote Monday, generally affects the area west of Interstate 5, north of San Elijo Lagoon and south of Birmingham Drive. All new building--residential and commercial--is halted.

The sense of community congestion in Cardiff is aggravated by the presence of 25-foot-wide residential lots, the narrowest lots permitted in Encinitas. Current regulations allow "lot line" construction up to the property line. The result has been an increasing number of single- and multi-story duplexes which block the neighbors' the view.

Twins Leave Tunnel Vision

"What is happening," Davis said, "is that developers, investors and private individuals are taking these narrow lots, sometimes buying two adjacent 25-foot-wide lots, and then building twin homes, leaving their neighbors with a tunnel vision view, and sometimes no view at all. You add this to the overgrown trees and the effect is atrocious."

Shafer indicated that fewer than 10 small developments will be halted by the moratorium. More than 125 lots in Cardiff are vacant and considered ripe for development.

The Cardiff moratorium is in addition to the moratorium imposed by the council on new major subdivisions in the fledgling city.

Encinitas is developing its first General Plan, a guide to zoning and development throughout the city, a process not expected to be completed for 18 months. One resolution to the Cardiff problem might be an interim ordinance until the General Plan is finished.

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