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On the road to somewhere else

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
June 6, 2007


As I sat on the Coast Highway, watching a backhoe demolish a piece of Encinitas history to make way for future condos, a sense of loss washed over me. The purple Rock and Roll house, a quirky icon of artistic expression already gone, the pink structures at the corner of A Street and Highway 101 were being ripped apart. Beautiful blue skies did nothing to mitigate my melancholy.

Change happens. I get it.

Never stagnant, time moves everything from mountains to mole hills. Sometimes change is served Katrina size, and the world as you know is altered overnight. Most often though, change comes in small doses, a greenhouse gone, a building destroyed, a hillside developed, a business shuttered, a birth, a death, a life.

Change is inevitable. I get that too. One way or another things evolve. I understand "the old makes way for the new," progress is measured in growth, and money, or lack there of, changes everything. I also understand nothing is sacred in regards to Southern California's real estate market.

I'm gonna miss the Rock and Roll house, it was a work of art.

In downtown Encinitas, another cultural icon is passing into oblivion. A sign of the changing times, Dalagers Sharpening Service has given up the ghost after 47 years on Second St. A main stay in early Encinitas, the green block building harkens back to the rural community Encinitas once was. A hold over from a time when flowers were king and there were a lot a tools to sharpen and repair, Dalagers is now destined for demolition and redevelopment.

No longer rural, Coastal San Diego County has become a desirable tourist community. Gone are the days when farming was central to the economy. Agricultural land has been bulldozed for homes and shopping malls, and cities must compete for the once almighty dollar. Manifest destiny has morphed into maximum density.

And let us not forget development is an industry. Contractors, builders, architects, plumbers, electricians, framers, dry-wallers, painters, carpet installers, landscapers, masons, drivers, mortgage bankers, real estate agents and politicians all depend on growth and future growth for their continued well-being.

Like gasoline to a flame, development fuels the Californian economy, always has.

Sadly, buildings of unique charm or historic importance, must feed the beast. Ugly block building on 2nd Street? Toast. Purple rock and roll house? Toast. Pacific View Elementary School? Toast. Nothing is safe. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is permanent.

Done with sprawl, the smart growth mantra is now "infill and up" along the coastal corridor. From San Diego through to Oceanside, densification is the goal. As population increases so too do the pressures working against preservation of anything. Lagoons, open space, old buildings, cultural icons, historic homes, schools, even churches must make way for what comes next.

Change happens.

Driving past the shattered remains of the old Nofufi gallery/101 Artist Colony building I feel the need to scrape my shoes.

Condos anyone?

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