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Encinitas Awarded Prestigious Helen Putnam Award for Innovative Housing Program

Encinitas, CA – The City of Encinitas today received recognition for its Housing for Generations program by the League of California Cities® (LCC). Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear accepted the Helen Putnam Award during the Opening General Session of the LCC’s Annual Conference in Long Beach, CA on October 16th. The City won in the “Housing Programs and Innovations” category.

The Housing for Generations program was recognized for its innovative, multistep approach to encourage the permitting and construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). This program includes the adoption of two new ordinances for ADU and Junior ADU regulations, the sponsoring of state legislation (SB 1226), and the creation of the Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Units (PRADU) program, which offers property owners a selection of pre-approved ADU building plans, free of charge.

The program is a multi-pronged effort to address housing challenges through the development of ADUs, also known as granny flats. Very little undeveloped land remains in the City of Encinitas, so it is difficult for new construction to keep pace with increasing housing needs. Accessory units allow families to have more flexibility in their living arrangements, providing the opportunity for rental income and for young adult family members or older caregivers to live on-site. The program manager reports that the City is already seeing an increase in ADU permits (more than double) and more than a dozen PRADUs are in review with several already under construction.                                                        

“The City is showing true leadership by embracing ADUs as a way to meaningfully move the needle on housing. Every city needs to do its part to address the housing affordability crisis that is leading to more families facing housing insecurity and homelessness, and more residents working farther from their jobs. ADUs are a key part of our solution. Our three-part effort – waive fees, loosen permitting restrictions and provide pre-approved plans – has already shown measurable success. I could not be more proud of our dedicated team effort and the results we are achieving,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear.

According to the LCC website, Helen Putnam was the first woman elected as President of the League of California Cities in 1978. The Award for Excellence is given in her memory. Established in 1982 by the LCC, and sponsored by the League Partners Program, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes and promotes the outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by city governments each year For a complete list of this year's categories, please view this year's program brochure (pdf).



Located along six miles of Pacific Ocean coastline in northern San Diego County, Encinitas has an approximate population of 63,000 and is characterized by coastal beaches, cliffs, flat-topped coastal areas, steep mesa bluffs and rolling hills. The city was incorporated in 1986, drawing together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and Leucadia.