News from the City of Carlsbad | Sept. 21, 2023
As we approach the first day of fall on Saturday, I am sharing three things you can do to prepare for Santa Ana winds and the threat of wildfires. The change in seasons also provides new opportunities to connect with your community and explore nature right here in Carlsbad. Details on these and other stories in today’s update:
- Wildfire preparedness: get a jump start on the season ahead
- Enjoy our trails and pay it forward
- Grab your binoculars – the birds are coming
- Seeing green: a driver’s guide to green bike lanes
- Free COVID-19 tests coming
- Solar power at the speed of light
- Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the Carlsbad City Library
- Get involved
It’s time to prep for wildfire season
You could argue that there really is no “wildfire season” these days. After all, the last major wildfire in Carlsbad occurred in the spring. Even so, we know that fall usually brings hot, dry, windy conditions, so it’s worth taking time now to get prepared.
This is even more important if you happen to live near natural open space. We are very proud of the fact that we maintain over 9,500 acres of open space in Carlsbad, something very important to our residents. This also comes with the responsibility to stay prepared for wildfires and take steps to protect your home and your family.
We have developed several resources you can use to protect your home and help reduce our wildfire risk. Here are three you can focus on first:
1. Create defensible space
- Reducing or eliminating flammable plants or materials around your home helps protect it from wildfire and provides a safety zone for firefighters to work if a fire approaches.
- Keep your landscaping healthy and remove any dead plants or dry brush within six feet of your home.
2. Prepare for flying embers
- Flying embers can travel miles in high winds during a wildfire, so don’t give them a place to take hold.
- Keep debris out of your gutters and off your rooftops.
- Put screens on vents so embers can’t blow into your home’s attic or crawl spaces.
3. Watch the weather
- Keep an eye on weather reports for red flag warnings and dry, windy conditions.
- During these weather conditions, DO NOT do outdoor electrical work or any activity that could cause a spark.
Enjoy our trails and pay it forward
Of course one of the reasons we love having so much open space is that we can easily reconnect with nature on one of dozens of trails throughout the city. You can find locations, parking information, difficulty level and more on our GoHike Carlsbad app.
If you’re interested in getting involved with our trails program, we’re hosting a trail volunteer cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Lake Calavera in honor of National Public Lands Day.
As one of our long-time trail captains explains in this video, volunteer events are a great way to get active and give back to the community.
Trail volunteer event
Saturday, Sept. 30 – 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Lake Calavera, Tamarack Avenue Trailhead
- The city provides water, shovels, rakes and other tools, along with a short training for new volunteers.
- Make sure to wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and gloves.
- Park along Tamarack Avenue at the Lake Calavera trailhead.
- Check in at the tables that will be set up south of the restrooms.
- RSVP by emailing Sarah Czech.
Grab your binoculars – the birds are coming
Fall is also a perfect time to see birds in Carlsbad. That’s because the San Diego region sits on what’s called the Pacific Flyway, a route millions of birds travel each year as part of their migration.
In fact, on Sept. 10, an Eastern Kingbird stopped in the Aviara parking area on the north side of Batiquitos Lagoon. Birders from all over the county came to get a glimpse of this species that is usually only found east of the Rocky Mountains.
I’m always happy to see nature thrive in Carlsbad because it means our hard work is paying off. Protecting and preserving the natural environment is one of the key priorities outlined in the City Council’s 5-year Strategic Plan, and the city’s Habitat Management Plan is dedicated to protecting native plants, animals and habitats as part of this commitment.
If you missed the Eastern Kingbird’s visit, no need to worry. Here are some birds you might be able to spot during a fall walk at Batiquitos Lagoon or along our stunning coastline:
- Migrant songbirds like Wilson’s Warbler or Warbling Vireo
- The Red-necked Phalarope
- The White-crowned Sparrow or Yellow-rumped Warbler, which will soon reach their large winter numbers
- Flocks of American Wigeon returning to spend their winter months
If you happen to snap an amazing photo of a bird passing through, feel free to send it to us and we may use it in a future newsletter or on the city’s social media.
Seeing green: a driver’s guide to green bike lanes
Another way Carlsbad is staying green is by adding green paint to city bike lanes. By now you’ve no doubt come upon a street with some sort of green markings, and maybe you wondered what they all mean.
The short answer is green paint on bike lanes doesn’t change the rules of the road. Instead, the paint is there to call more attention to the bike lanes. We focus these green markings in “conflict zones,” places where cars and bikes could collide, like turn lanes.
When you come upon a dashed bike lane line, with or without green paint, you may enter the lane when safe to make a right hand turn. You should not cross a solid line on a bike lane, with or without green paint, unless you are turning into a driveway. You can learn more about these markings and what to do on our website.
Free COVID-19 tests coming
You may have seen the news yesterday that the federal government is once again making free COVID-19 tests available by mail. Starting Sept. 25, you can visit the website to make your request. The website address is covidtests.gov.
The FDA has also put out information about extending expiration dates for certain COVID-19 tests. So, before you toss your “expired” tests, check to see if the expiration dates have changed.
Even though COVID-19 is no longer considered a pandemic, let’s still do everything we can to limit spread by isolating yourself if you test positive and following all the usual tips. You can refresh your memory here and get the latest information about vaccine availability.
Solar power at the speed of light
Earlier this week, the city launched a new online permitting process for standard residential solar projects. This is part of a state requirement to encourage more solar energy usage and supports our goals of increasing efficiency and promoting sustainability.
- We are partnering with a platform called SolarAPP+ to administer the program and reduce permit wait times for contractors and customers.
- This program offers a quick and efficient way to apply for and obtain a solar permit in as little as a day.
- Contractors can apply for permits for eligible residential solar panel systems on SolarAPP+, then enter the approval information on the Customer Self Service portal.
- The permits are then issued as soon as permit fees are paid.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Carlsbad City Library
Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15, and on Tuesday our City Council issued a proclamation celebrating the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic champions in our community.
You can learn more through these resources at our city libraries, including:
- Book recommendations that highlight the stories of Hispanic Americans ranging from historical fiction to biographies to award-winning novels.
- A collection of narrative and documentary films celebrating the Hispanic community that are free to stream on Hoopla and Kanopy with your Carlsbad City Library card.
- A “make your own piñata” family craft activity Oct. 7 at the Dove Library led by piñata artist Diana Benavidez.
Get involved: upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, Sept. 26, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. The topics to be considered include:
- A $4.6 million state loan that will pay for upgrading the system used to monitor the city’s wastewater system
- A professional services agreement to provide construction management and inspection services for the Veterans Memorial Park project
- A $40,000 state grant that would pay for the Police Department’s efforts to address problems related to serving alcohol at local businesses
- Buying an affordable housing unit on Hancock Circle as part of the city’s Affordable Housing Resale Program, which will enable the city to sell it to another buyer who qualifies as having a low income
- An ordinance making minor changes to the Carlsbad Municipal Code so rules on city public meetings are clear and consistent
- Permits and a waiver required to widen El Camino Real between Sunny Creek Road and Jackspar Drive and add new sidewalks, a buffered bike lane and better access for people with disabilities
- Appointing one member to the Agricultural Conversion Mitigation Committee, two members to the Senior Commission and one member to the Housing Commission
- An updated master plan for the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, outlining priorities for the next several years based on community feedback, industry trends, demographics and other factors
- Plans to use unspent funds from the fiscal year 2022-23 budget in the current fiscal year
Watch the meeting in person, on the city’s website or the city’s cable TV channel (Spectrum 24/AT&T U-verse 99). Get more information, including how to provide comments to the City Council and the full agenda and staff reports on the city’s website.
There’s one other city meeting happening next week:
Sept. 27, 4 p.m. – Library Board of Trustees
As we come to the end of another week and another update on city issues, I want to once again thank you for staying current on what’s going on in our city. Please encourage your friends and family members to also follow along. Here’s a link where they can sign up for this weekly update (along with a bunch of other topics, if they are so inclined).
Have a great weekend, Carlsbad!
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