Paying $6.3 million is the biggest boondoggle since the city paid $10 million for the closed Pacific View school.

ENCINITAS, Calif. – City leaders in Encinitas are moving forward in their purchase of about 1.5 acres of land at La Costa Avenue and Highway 101, known to many as “Hippie Hill.”

“We wanted to see this land preserved and protected,” said Encinitas resident Elena Thompson. The purchase of the land is nearly official, with escrow expected to close by the end of September.

“Having the opportunity to acquire this land and keep it from being developed into timeshares, I think the community has very much appreciated the work that we’re doing here,” Mayor Tony Kranz said.

The northern end of Leucadia has seen the construction of a hotel and more development on the way including a nearby apartment complex, so the preservation of this land was paramount for long-time locals.

“Now it’s not going to be developed. That’s great for the city. It’s a small parcel, but every open space is great,” Scott Campbell said.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, council talked about how they plan to finance the land, purchased for $6 million.

The city plans to use cash reserves for the initial purchase and then use lease revenue bonds to build the reserves back up.

“Some are a little concerned about what effect the roughly $400,000 a year that servicing this debt is going to have on our budget. I think that it’s important enough that we will make it work,” Kranz said.

The public will be asked to weigh in on what they want to see done with the open space at a future city council meeting.

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