News from the City of Carlsbad | Feb. 8, 2024
This week’s update covers safety, environmental sustainability, a new city park and other community priorities, plus a behind the scenes look at how being “brilliant at the basics” helped protect Carlsbad during the recent storms.
- Crime down as police address emerging trends
- Partnering to keep schools safe
- Innovative approach to increase affordable housing
- “Chose your own adventure” at Robertson Ranch Park meeting
- Tackling food waste on Super Bowl Sunday
- Spring camp registration open
- What’s on the agenda for the next City Council meeting
- Key dates for upcoming March primary election
Making measurable progress on community priorities
In a little more than a year, the City of Carlsbad has made measurable progress in all five areas of the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, the city’s first planning document of its kind. City staff presented the progress report Tuesday as one of several steps leading up to the presentation of the draft budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The five goals in the strategic plan are:
- Maintain Carlsbad’s unique community character
- Prioritize the safety and well-being of the community
- Protect the environment and natural resources
- Foster a healthy economy
- Be a model for effective and efficient local government
The plan includes objectives and tasks to support each goal, while recognizing the importance of maintaining day-to-day city services at the high level the community expects. This section of the plan, called Be Brilliant at the Basics, sets benchmarks for things like streets maintenance, drinking water, police and fire calls for service, library programs, parks and city trails.
Prior to approving the strategic plan in October 2022, the City Council had focused on developing annual goals through a process going back decades. By following a five-year plan, the city is now able to focus on larger initiatives and maintain the momentum needed to get them done.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll share a deep dive on each of the goals, including what we’ve accomplished so far and what lies ahead. In the meantime, this recap of the report has some quick highlights.
Crime down as police address emerging trends
Carlsbad saw an overall 15% decrease in crime, based on regional mid-year data released by SANDAG and its Automated Regional Justice Information System. The Carlsbad Police Department presented the latest numbers, an update on crime trends and how the department is responding at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
For the first six months of 2023 compared to that same time period in 2022, Carlsbad saw the following changes:
- Violent crime down 19%
- Property crimes like residential burglary and auto theft down 15%
- Crimes like drugs and weapons violations down 12%
According to the Police Chief, several national, statewide and regional trends are affecting the incidence of crime in Carlsbad. These include:
- Organized retail theft
- Residential burglaries
- Fentanyl overdoses
- Catalytic converter thefts
- Ghost guns
Learn how the city is responding. The report also included an overview of the Police Department’s use of technology such as license plate readers, vehicle dashboard cams and e-citations.
- For example, in December 2023, license plate readers helped identify a suspect in the hit and run of a student walking home from school.
- The driver, who was on probation for assault and had a criminal history that included driving under the influence resulting in injuries, reckless driving, auto theft, robbery, carjacking, burglary and felony evading, was arrested for felony hit-and run and returned to prison.
- This technology has helped make the most of police resources and enabled real-time, data-informed decisions in solving crimes.
The Police Department ended the presentation by reminding all residents to do their part to reduce crime by reporting suspicious behavior. The Police Department has a 24/7 non-emergency phone line, 442-339-2197. For emergencies and to report a crime in progress, call 9-1-1. LEARN MORE
Partnering to keep schools safe
Also on Tuesday, the City Council approved an agreement with the Carlsbad Unified School District to split the cost of school resource officers, continuing a nearly 30-year partnership.
The Carlsbad Police Department has five school resource officers:
- One for Carlsbad High School
- One for Sage Creek High School
- One to cover middle schools and elementary schools in the Carlsbad Unified School District
- Two to serve schools in Carlsbad that are not part of Carlsbad Unified School District
School resource officers handle law enforcement during regular school hours as well as sporting events and other school activities.
- Officers provide emergency response training, school safety plans and special training for campus supervisors and lunchtime duty personnel.
- By promoting positive relationships with students, parents and others in the school community, they are often in a position to de-escalate conflicts and provide connections to social services.
Under the cost-sharing agreement, Carlsbad Unified School District will pay half the cost of three school resource officers during the 10 months of the school year. LEARN MORE
City leverages developer fees to increase affordable housing
A visionary approach to funding affordable housing more than 30 years ago has resulted in the creation of 2,300 Carlsbad homes that are affordable for those making between 30% to 80% of the area’s median income.
City staff provided details in an annual report on its Housing Trust Fund presented to the City Council Tuesday.
- The city created the fund as part of our inclusionary housing program in 1993 to increase affordable housing for lower-income households.
- The program requires developers building new residential projects in Carlsbad to make 15% of the units affordable to people with low incomes. For projects with six units or less, developers can either include affordable housing or pay a fee.
The fees go into the Housing Trust Fund, where they’re combined with interest payments and other funding to subsidize the cost of constructing affordable housing. None of the money comes from the city’s General Fund, which pays for most day-to-day city services.
During the 2022-23 fiscal year, the city invested $4.5 million in Housing Trust Fund money for projects that directly benefit the community, such as:
- Supporting the construction of more affordable housing
- Operating the city owned Tyler Court apartments for seniors with low incomes
- Advancing programs to reduce homelessness in Carlsbad
Choose your own adventure at Saturday’s Robertson Ranch Park meeting
Drop by the city’s Faraday Administration Center any time between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday to talk to the park designers behind three concepts for Robertson Ranch Park and give feedback.
The meeting is informal, and you can spend as much time as you like learning about each of the concepts. Once you’ve explored the three options, you can provide feedback in person or via a virtual comment form.
To prepare, you can watch a video explaining the inspiration behind each of the designs and the features they include.
Robertson Ranch Park “drop in” community meeting – Saturday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. City of Carlsbad Faraday Administration Center, 1635 Faraday Ave.
We also have two other options to provide input on the park designs:
Robertson Ranch virtual meeting Thursday, Feb. 15, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Register online
Online survey Take the online survey available through Feb. 23.
Tackling food waste on Super Bowl Sunday
If you’re hosting friends and family on Super Bowl Sunday, please plan carefully so your football feast doesn’t end up getting punted to the landfill.
A 2021 report prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that each year, the amount of food sent to landfills in the U.S. accounts for 170 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. To put this in perspective, that’s equal to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. And, this estimate does not include the significant methane emissions from food waste rotting in landfills.
It’s easy to make a difference. Here’s how:
Make a game plan: Be realistic about how much food you need to serve. Avoid overbuying and choose dishes that can be easily stored and repurposed into leftovers, so nothing is wasted.
Halftime strategy: After they’ve eaten, make sure your guests know about the importance of putting food scraps in a separate container from the trash. For convenience, you can designate a regular trash can to collect food scraps inside and then take it out to your green cart later.
Be the MVP: Party favorites like chicken wing bones and food-soiled paper products including pizza boxes can be placed in the green cart. This video can help you figure out what goes where.
Learn more about recycling organic waste, and thanks for doing your part.
Sign up for spring classes and camps
Spring is right around the corner, and we’ve got a wide variety of city programs and classes to help you stay active and energized. You can find the complete schedule in our Spring Community Services Guide.
If you’ve got young ones at home, consider signing them up for one of our spring break camps, April 1 to 5, including:
- A day camp for kids 5 to 10
- An “explorer” camp for older kids 10 to 13
- An aquatics camp for kids 7 to 11
- A basketball camp for beginning and intermediate players 6 to 12
These camps fill up fast, so make sure to register early.
What’s on the agenda for the next City Council meeting
The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, Feb. 13, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. Topics will include:
- Monthly update on the city’s investments
- An agreement with a consultant to help the city implement affordable housing programs required by state law
- A purchasing agreement for janitorial supplies needed to maintain the city’s 30 buildings and facilities
- Considering putting a project out to bid that would replace aging water and sewer pipes on parts of Carlsbad Boulevard and Cannon Road
- Updating the maximum loan amounts and the types of home repair costs that are covered under the city’s Minor Home Repair Program, which provides forgivable loans to single-family homeowners with low incomes
- An update on the city’s efforts to address noise complaints about flights in and out of the county’s McClellan-Palomar Airport
- Recommendations to the county on possible changes to the nomination process and composition of the Palomar Airport Advisory Committee, which reviews and makes recommendations to the county on airport-related noise, development, operations and land-use issues, as well as serving as a forum for the community and the county on airport issues
- Considering a project to build eight new outdoor pickleball courts, four at Calavera Hills Community Park and four at Stagecoach Community Park, as part of the recently updated Parks & Recreation Department Master Plan.
A link to the full agenda and staff reports is now available on the city’s website.
The City Council encourages your participation. You can get agendas and staff reports emailed to you directly, and if you want to provide input, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org before the meeting or come in person and fill out a request to speak.
If you want to watch from home, we have three options:
- Watch the meeting live on the website
- Watch a recording of the meeting afterward
- Watch live or a replay throughout the week on the city’s cable TV channel, Spectrum channel 24 and AT&T U-verse channel 99
Upcoming election dates
The County Registrar of Voters asked us to share some information about California’s March 5 primary election. Ballots were mailed Monday to all registered voters. (If you didn’t get a ballot, check to make sure you’re registered.)
- Starting this week, you can vote by mail, drop your ballot at one of the county’s official drop box locations – including any Carlsbad library branch – or vote in person at the Registrar of Voters office in San Diego.
- Starting Feb. 24, several early voting centers will open around the county, including one at Calavera Hills Community Park in Carlsbad. (Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Starting March 2 through March 5, all county voting centers will be open for in-person voting.
I’ll end today by sharing a little behind the scenes footage of one of our dedicated public works employees clearing the way along the Buena Vista Lagoon during this week’s storm to make sure the road didn’t flood during high tide.
This constant vigilance in maintaining important infrastructure is all part of our commitment to being “brilliant at the basics.” This work doesn’t always capture the public’s attention, but it’s critically important to the safety of our community. (By the way, our city Transportation Director shot this footage when he stopped by at around 6:45 a.m. to check on things, and again at high tide to make sure all was well).
A little more rain to go, so please drive safely, and if you’re planning to enjoy the big game, please take all necessary steps to prevent DUIs, which, unfortunately, are still one of the top causes of injury collisions in Carlsbad. Our Police Department will be on the lookout with extra patrols.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
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City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 www.carlsbadca.gov