After months of lobbying, campaigning and convincing, Ecke Ranch’s Proposition A was defeated November 8, 2005.
After months of lobbying, campaigning and convincing, Ecke Ranch’s Proposition A was defeated November 8, 2005. Proposition A was a plan that Ecke Ranch had proposed to the city of Encinitas asking to rezone 38 acres of the 68-acre farm from agricultural to residential land. The vote ratio was 65 percent no and 35 percent yes.
Despite the tireless efforts and money put into the campaign, “Paul Ecke III [CEO of Ecke Ranch] had said early in the evening [November 7, 2005] that if he lost he would not pursue the rezoning but that he might try to do something else with his land,” says the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Ecke requested the non-binding vote earlier this year to sway the City Council, which will make the final decision about rezoning. “City Clerk Deborah Cervone said she didn't know when that would be. Some council members have said they will abide by the outcome of the election,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Ecke Ranch would use the money from development to modernize facilities. Many of the existing structures are more than 30 years old and very inefficient by today’s standards. According to Ecke, new structures and equipment are needed to compete in today’s market. “Paul Ecke III said that it [development] was the only way he could raise enough money to modernize the Ranch and that he might have to move his operations elsewhere if the ballot measure failed,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.
?In addition to the new development, the proposal gave at least 8 acres of land to the city of Encinitas for parks and hiking trails and included a plan for traffic improvement. Ecke also offered the city of Encinitas the 20 acres his new greenhouses would be built on in case Ecke Ranch stops growing plants in the future.
Opponents of Proposition A were worried that adding extra residences might increase traffic congestion. They also argued that Ecke should not be allowed to change a 1994 agreement his family signed with the city. In that agreement, 850 acres were rezoned to allow the development of 1,000 homes, a regional shopping center and an 18-hole championship municipal golf course in exchange for a promise to keep the rest of the land agriculture.
This has been a long road for the Ranch and the city of Encinitas. Ecke spent a reported $158,000 on the campaign while continuously being attacked by opponents of Proposition A who spent a reported $13,000 on opposition.