Encinitas decorates tallest living tree in the county
Encinitas residents, local businesses, and service clubs once again sponsored Encinitas’ annual tree-lighting ceremony on December 4th. The Norfolk Island Pine is located on 4th and C Street and has been the tallest living holiday tree in the county for over two decades. This beloved community landmark can now be seen throughout the city and is distinguished by its blue LED lights, which are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs and were implemented for the first tie this year.
City Council launches voluntary mediation program
On December 9th, the Encinitas Council unanimously approved a 1-year trial of a new mediation program in hopes to resolve neighborhood disputes to avoid the lengthy appeal process. A council member cited an example of a 2014 disagreement between neighbors over a proposal to convert a garage into a housing unit that was eventually solved by council appeal.
The mediation program will allow for more “creative solutions” in which each side would sit down and resolve the issue with a mediator. This type of conflict resolution is expected to be beneficial to both sides of each dispute, and will cover both general neighborhood conflicts as well as development and land-use disputes.
Anonymous Secret Santa helps Encinitas shoppers
An anonymous woman paid off the layaway accounts of dozens of shoppers at the Walmart on Leucadia Boulevard earlier this week. Although store managers have kept this Secret Santa’s identity anonymous, they reported that she paid off the accounts of about 50 customers, which totaled over $9,000. Store customers were shocked, grateful, and even tearful once they heard the voicemails informing them that their debt was taken care of.
Encinitas to have a designated arborist
During a recent Encinitas City Council meeting, members of a subcommittee proposed plans to hire an arborist to oversee all city-owned tree issues. The arborist, which council members referred to as the city’s personal “Lorax” in a nod to the popular Dr. Seuss book, would not only help set city tree policies, but also handle removal, pruning, and the type of new trees to be planted in public areas.
It has still yet to be determined whether the arborist will be hired as an independent contractor or a city worker, but City Manager Karen Burst is expected to reach a final proposal in the next several months.