Earlier this month, the city opened an overnight parking facility for homeless residents living in their cars on the grounds of Leichtag Commons, a property of the Leichtag Foundation, a Jewish nonprofit organization. The Safe Parking Program, led by the city of Encinitas, hosted by the Leichtag Foundation and operated by the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, is the first of its kind in North County San Diego. This initiative also faced pushback in the community.
Charlene Seidle, the executive vice president of the Leichtag Foundation, said that nearly all those who utilize the lot either live or work in Encinitas. “This is a community that should be acting to make a difference and not just talking about it,” she said.
“When I was in high school, downtown Encinitas had a laundromat, a movie theater, a couple diners, and a couple funky little beach shops. Now it’s where I go on date night,” said Dane Soderberg, 41, a real estate agent who grew up in Encinitas. Mr. Soderberg’s father, the surfer and filmmaker Steve Soderberg, still lives in town. “Encinitas has maintained its surf culture and laid-back heritage while its real estate market and retail space has showed gentrification.”
Encinitas has seen significant development over the last two decades, including the creation of the Encinitas Ranch planned community of 500 homes, as well as big-box shopping and chain dining nearby. (Its only movie theater, the La Paloma theater, is nearly 100 years old.)
Peter Caspersen, 39, moved to Encinitas with his wife, Chelsea, in 2009, just before the couple married. Children were already on their mind, and Encinitas — with its good schools and great beaches — felt like the right choice. (The couple now have two sons, ages 5 and 7).
“I don’t think you can do better than Encinitas,” said Mr. Caspersen, a real estate agent who specializes in San Diego’s coastal communities. “My wife would have been happy in a shoe box as close to the beach as possible. And I love the beach myself, and the coastal life.”