News from the City of Carlsbad | July 20, 20
Last week nearly 1,000 readers of this update signed up for Alert San Diego to get notifications via email, mobile phone and text message if an emergency threatens their neighborhoods. (If you meant to do this, it’s not too late!) This week, I’ll share another important step you can take to help you and your loved ones be prepared for emergencies, such as the wildfires that threatened our neighbors to the north over the past week in Riverside.
Warm weather increases wildfire risk and poses other dangers, so please continue to take it easy and check in on older friends and neighbors and others who may be more vulnerable to heat. Cool Zones are available here in Carlsbad and throughout the county for anyone who needs a break.
Here’s what else I’ll be covering in today’s update:
- Protecting future quality of life focus of new citizens committee report
- Environmental report provides more info on potential housing sites
- Roundabout option at Tamarack to get more analysis
- Answering your questions about new development
- Weekend fun
- Historic Preservation Commission vacancy
- Get involved: Upcoming meetings
Time to make an emergency plan
If you got a call right now that you had to immediately evacuate your home due to a wildfire, what would you do? How would you connect with family members who weren’t home at the time? How would you transport your pets? These are the kinds of things you can plan in advance to make sure you are prepared. Ready San Diego has a great website that walks you through all the steps. I highly recommend involving everyone in your household in developing your plan, so everyone is on the same page.
Protecting future quality of life focus of new citizens committee report
On Tuesday, the City Council received a report on the findings of a citizens committee that studied future options for managing growth.
This is the first step toward developing a new long-term approach to maintaining Carlsbad’s quality of life and financial health while complying with new state laws that will result in more land being zoned for housing here in Carlsbad and throughout California.
The City of Carlsbad’s growth management program was created in the late 80s and is largely credited with maintaining the city’s excellent quality of life, well-planned infrastructure and financial health over the past 35+ years.
- Recent state laws render some parts of the city’s growth management program unenforceable, including putting a limit on how many new homes can be built in the city.
- The state laws are meant to address a critical statewide shortage of housing by making it more difficult for cities to deny new housing projects.
- Affordable housing, which is usually apartments and condos, is a big focus of the new state laws, as is locating new housing close to transit hubs.
For the past year, the Carlsbad Tomorrow Growth Management Citizens Committee did a deep dive into the standards developers are required to meet when building new housing in Carlsbad. Currently, developers either pay for or build various types of infrastructure to support the needs of the people who are expected to live in the new housing they create.
The committee’s report recommends standards for park space, roads, water, libraries and other community needs. The committee also offered more general suggestions for what they’d like considered to ensure Carlsbad maintains an excellent quality of life in the future.
Park space was a hot topic during the committee’s discussions. The group recommended keeping the 3 acres per 1,000 people standard, but asked the City Council to consider exploring a standard that all homes should be within a certain distance from a park. This will be discussed when the city’s Parks & Recreation Department presents a new Parks & Recreation Master Plan to the City Council this fall.
City staff will return to the City Council to discuss next steps on the overall growth management plan, which include doing technical studies to determine if and how the standards proposed by the committee can be linked to developer fees. LEARN MORE
Environmental report with potential new housing sites ready for review
A Draft Environmental Impact Report for potential new housing sites in Carlsbad is now available for public review.
The report is required as part of the city’s Housing Element Update, a state-required plan for how Carlsbad will accommodate projected housing needs.
- About every eight years, the state tells cities how many homes they must plan for to accommodate people of varying income levels.
- To meet the state’s requirements, the city needs to rezone property to accommodate about 2,600 higher density housing units by April 2024.
- After getting input from the community, several potential new housing locations were identified.
- The Draft Environmental Impact Report outlines impacts of the potential new housing at these sites.
Roundabout at Tamarack and Carlsbad Boulevard to get a second look
On Tuesday, the City Council directed staff to move forward with additional review and design of a roundabout at the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and Tamarack Avenue with an important caveat.
Before giving the final go ahead, the City Council asked staff to return with more information about how another coastal roundabout is performing.
- Roundabouts are becoming more common in coastal cities because they are effective in slowing down traffic and have other additional safety features important at busy intersections.
- The City of Carlsbad has one roundabout at State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard and another planned for Cannon and Carlsbad Boulevard.
- The City Council asked to see data on how the Cannon Road roundabout performs before authorizing construction of a roundabout at Tamarack.
- As with any project along the coast, changes in road design require a lengthy process of review and permitting from the state. Because of this, a roundabout at Tamarack wouldn’t be ready to build for a couple of years.
- This will give the city time to finish the Cannon project, which is further along in the design and permitting pipeline.
- City staff will gather data for three months after the Cannon project is completed and return to the City Council for additional discussion and direction on how to proceed with Tamarack.
I’d like to thank everyone who has sent in comments and those who came to speak directly to the City Council on this issue. If you want to be kept up to date on this project, please sign up for email updates. LEARN MORE
A reminder about speeding
As we continue in our traffic safety state of emergency, minding your speed is one of the best ways you can improve the safety of our roadways.
Not only is speeding a top cause of severe injury and fatal collisions here in Carlsbad, it’s a problem nationwide. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths related to speeding are at a 14-year high, with speeding listed as a factor in about one-third of all traffic deaths.
In areas with lots of pedestrians, like along our coast, in the Village and around schools, slowing down is especially critical. Here’s a graphic that shows what a difference even 10 mph can make:
Your questions about proposed development answered
We’ve been getting some questions about a proposed mixed-use development project at the Carlsbad Village Plaza retail center, where the Smart & Final and other businesses are located off of I-5 and Carlsbad Village Drive.
A private developer recently submitted an application for the project, which proposed 218 residential housing units and two commercial sites for retail businesses, including a neighborhood market.
Here are some of the questions that have come up:
What is the city’s role in a project like this?
The city establishes what kinds of land uses are allowed where. For example, at this site, the zoning allows for a variety of land uses such as shops, restaurants and apartments or condominiums.
Within those allowed uses, property owners can decide what to do with their land.
- If owners want to build something new or different on their land, they need to submit a detailed application to the city so city planners, engineers and other technical experts can make sure what is being proposed is within what is allowed.
- Our role is to make sure all the rules are followed, including complying with zoning, identifying and mitigating environmental impacts, such as traffic and aesthetics, and, if a project proceeds to construction, that it meets all building codes.
- We also require property owners to go above and beyond normal requirements when it comes to notifying the public and providing opportunities for input.
How can I provide feedback on the proposed project?
- If the project passes the initial set of reviews, it would proceed to an environmental analysis. This must be made available for public review and would disclose anticipated impacts on traffic, air quality, views and other factors.
- Then, once the environmental analysis is complete, the city will hold public hearings at the Planning Commission and the City Council, both of which are opportunities for public input.
- If the project proceeds to the public hearing stage, those hearings would take place in about a year, sometime around next summer.
You can sign up to receive notifications about proposed projects like this one, including when public hearings are scheduled or when there are opportunities to provide input.
Breaking Glass Boundaries: New exhibit curated by Barrio Glassworks
We are getting great feedback about the new Barrio Glassworks exhibit at the Cannon Art Gallery, which features artwork made of glass, including two pieces by the artists at Barrio Glassworks as well as other glass artists.
If you’re not familiar with Barrio Glassworks, it is on Roosevelt, just south of Carlsbad Village Drive, with a retail shop and a studio where you can watch (and feel the heat!) from their artists at work. We are so pleased to partner with this unique local business for our current exhibit.
If you’re free this Saturday and looking for a fun kids activity, stop by the gallery on Dove Lane for a hands-on art making activity based on the current exhibit. They’ll learn how to make their own transparent art piece using colorful pens and vibrant, light-catching beads.
Pop Up Art activity
Saturday, July 22 12 to 2 p.m.
Cannon Art Gallery, Dove Library, 1775 Dove Lane
All supplies are provided, and you can keep your artwork as a reminder of a fun night at the art gallery.
Gallery hours – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday: Noon to 7 p.m. LEARN MORE
TGIF headed to Poinsettia Park
We’re headed to Poinsettia Park for this week’s TGIF Concerts in the Parks. The popular country band Young Guns will take the stage at 6 p.m. performing a mix of classic and Top 40 country hits.
Please be considerate of park neighbors by using one of these alternatives to driving and looking for spots on streets surrounding the park:
- Park at North Coast Calvary Chapel, 1330 Poinsettia Lane, and take our free shuttle.
- Arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up. Or call a ride share.
- If you’re close enough, ride your bike. We’ll once again have a free bike valet service. This video shows how it works.
If you must drive, please carpool, look out for pedestrians and be sure to park legally.
Apply to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission
As you know, we are always encouraging community members to get more involved. Here’s an upcoming opportunity for those of you who have background or interest in architecture, archeology, history, biology, engineering, geology or a related field.
- We have an unscheduled vacancy on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission for a term that expires in April 2026.
- The five-member commission advises the Planning Commission and City Council on everything related to identifying, protecting and preserving historic sites and areas in the city.
- Apply online by Aug. 14 at noon.
Get involved: Upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, July 25 at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. Here are the topics scheduled to be discussed:
- Advertising for bids for a project to replace the roof of the Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility on Avenida Encinas
- Awarding a contract to replace a leaking roof at the Senior Center
- Approving the purchase of a small piece of a property and an easement with SDG&E to make space for the widening of northbound El Camino Real from Cinnabar Way to Camino Vida Roble
- Annexing three properties in southwest Carlsbad to the community facilities district, a special financing district established to pay for essential city services in that area
- Approving the Fire Department’s participation in a new state program that provides more reimbursement for the cost of transporting people with Medi-Cal benefits to local hospitals
- Approving the latest update to the regional plan that identifies local governments’ efforts to minimize damage caused by disasters
A link to the full agenda and staff reports is available on the city’s website.
There are no other city meetings planned for next week.
Happy birthday, Carlsbad!
The City of Carlsbad marked its 71st birthday last Sunday, July 16. You can learn more about our city’s history in this video.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
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