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News from the City of Carlsbad | June 6, 2024

No City Council meeting to report on this week, so instead I’m going to roll out the first in an occasional series taking you behind the scenes of your local government. With today’s article, you’ll be fully prepared with multiple ways to provide input next time a City Council agenda topic catches your eye. Here’s the full line up:

  • Behind the scenes: City Council meetings explained
  • A high point worth noting in Carlsbad
  • Help create a special place for Veterans
  • Library’s largest annual program about to launch
  • Construction map helps you plan ahead
  • What’s on the agenda for your next City Council meeting

City Council meetings explained – City Council meetings are where it all happens – from approving our annual budget and reviewing proposed projects to passing new city laws. These meetings also provide a regular opportunity for you to tell the City Council what’s on your mind.

In person or online – I’ll go over how to speak at a City Council meeting in person, but please know that if you can’t come to a meeting, you can always provide written comments on agenda topics.

What’s up for discussion?

  • Agenda packets usually come out the Thursday before the Tuesday meeting. This includes posting the packet on the city’s website.
  • You can also sign up to receive an email notification and link when a City Council agenda has been posted. 
  • Each agenda topic will have a staff report. The report provides background information on the topic and other details. (I share the upcoming topics in this newsletter too)
  • Some staff reports are very detailed and lengthy, with multiple reports and studies attached. We want to provide as much information as possible to our City Council members.
  • We always include a summary on the first page that should give you a general idea of what the item is about. We also make it a priority to define all jargon, explain why the item is coming before the City Council and go over what happened before and what will happen next.

Email comments – We understand that not everyone can make it to a Tuesday night meeting. That’s why we encourage people to send their comments via email in advance of the meeting.

  • If you submit your email by 2 p.m. the day of the meeting, you can be assured it will be shared with the City Council in advance of the meeting.
  • All emails related to the agenda become part of the official meeting record.
  • Emailed comments received before the deadline are also posted to the city’s website on the same page as other materials for that meeting.
  • Email clerk@carlsbadca.gov (it’s helpful if you can include the agenda item number your comment relates to, but it’s not required)

In person: two options – If you want to provide comments in person there are two main ways to do that.

  1. General comments. This starts at the beginning of the meeting and is an opportunity for members of the public to address the City Council about city-related topics not on the agenda.
  2. Comments on agenda items. If you want to comment on an agenda item, you will be called when that item comes up.

What to expect – Because the City Council may only discuss and act on agenda items, topics brought up during public comment on non-agenda items cannot be discussed.

  • This is due to a state law called The Ralph M. Brown Act, designed to make sure meetings are transparent and the public has adequate notice that a topic will be discussed.
  • If speakers have a specific question or concern, the Mayor often refers them to a staff person in attendance who can address the issue, if possible, or at least make a personal contact for follow up later.

How to sign up – Whether providing a general comment or a comment on a specific agenda item, you will fill out a request to speak card and turn it in before that agenda item starts.

  • The cards are on a table right by the entrance, along with pencils.
  • Give your card to the clerk services staff person, who sits on the left side of the room (if you are looking at the City Council) in front of the dais.
  • The clerk will call your name when it’s your turn to speak. If you think the clerk might need help pronouncing your name, feel free to provide a phonetic spelling.
  • You can stay seated until your name is called, or you can head over to the back foyer on the same side as the podium to wait.
  • Remember, your card must be submitted before the related item on the agenda starts.

Your remarks

  • People often start by introducing themselves and saying where they live, but this is not required.
  • Speakers have three minutes (the Mayor can change the amount of time, which sometimes happens when there are a lot of speakers on a particular topic).
  • You will see a yellow light when you have 30 seconds left and a red light when your time is up.
  • To make sure everyone is treated equally, the City Clerk will cut the sound from your microphone when your time is up.
  • If you want to share written input, photos or other materials, please give them to the clerk services staff rather than handing them directly to the City Council members (there is a short barrier between the podium and the City Council).
  • The microphone is easily adjusted so feel free to bend it as needed so it’s close to your face.

Those are the highlights. City Council agendas have more detailed instructions right on the agenda (same goes for agendas for boards, commissions and committees).

I know not everyone loves public speaking, but I promise we do everything we can to create a comfortable environment. If you have kids, please feel free to bring them. We even have young people who provide comments directly. It’s the perfect way to introduce our next generation of leaders to how local government works. LEARN MORE

Hike to Carlsbad’s highest point – If you’re looking for a challenging hike where the reward is an incredible view, try out the Rancho La Costa Switchback Trail in south Carlsbad.

As the name suggestions, the 2.7-mile zig-zagging trail takes you to the top of Denk Mountain – the highest point in the city, at just over 1,000 feet. On a clear day you can see panoramic views of North County and the Pacific Ocean, from Camp Pendleton all the way to La Jolla.

The narrow, steep trail has an elevation gain of 692 feet and is quite steep in places. When you get to the top, you’ll find a shaded area with a picnic table, bike racks, a bike repair station and an information kiosk – all built by Eagle Scouts in our community.

  • The Switchback Trail is one of several trails within the Rancho La Costa Preserve, a 1,640-acre protected open-space area that’s home to more than 40 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals.
  • The abundance of wildlife is a magnet for scientific study and research, conducted primarily by the nonprofit Center for Natural Lands Management, which owns and manages the preserve, which is part of the city’s habitat preserve system.

The route – As the “switchback” name suggests, the trail leads you up the mountain diagonally. You can go back down the same way you came or take connecting trails that will get you down the mountain faster, though at a steeper incline.

What you’ll see -Beyond the spectacular views, the Switchback Trail is surrounded by coastal sage scrub that’s home to native plants like California buckwheat, laurel sumac and lemonade berry, along with a variety of wildlife including the endangered California gnatcatcher.

Fun facts – Denk Mountain is named for a pioneering Olivenhain family who once owned much of the land that is now the Rancho La Costa Preserve. Some people call it “Denk Tank Mountain” because of the large Olivenhain Municipal Water District water tank you can see through the brush about halfway to the summit.

Parking and access – The trailhead is at the corner of Corte Romero and Camino Junipero, east of Rancho Santa Fe Road. Street parking is available on Corte Romero. 

Help create a special place for veterans and their families – Veterans Memorial Park, scheduled to open in 2026, will feature public art at the top of the plateau where visitors can take in stunning views of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

Last year, the city gathered input from veterans and active service members. This input was then used in a nationwide Call for Artists, which resulted in 35 applications.  

The city has created a Public Art Advisory Subcommittee made up of veterans, family members of veterans, an arts professional and two members of the city’s Arts Commission. The committee evaluated the submissions and chose four finalists. You can see their submissions below:

During the next subcommittee meeting, June 12, the four artists will make presentations and answer committee questions.

  • You can come in person or watch the livestream.
  • There will be an opportunity for the public to weigh in, by speaking during the public comments section of the meeting or via email in advance.
  • At this stage, the artists have not proposed a specific style or theme for the artwork. They will be evaluated based on their past work.

Public Art Advisory Subcommittee meeting – Wednesday, June 12, 5 p.m.

City Council Chamber – 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive Agenda

Next steps – Once an artist is selected, the community will have an opportunity to provide input to the artist directly. 

Sign up for email updates to learn about opportunities to get involved.

Once complete, Veterans Memorial Park will be the city’s largest park and a dedicated place to recognize and honor the nation’s veterans. The park will feature a memorial plaza near the parking lot, in addition to the public art at the upper plateau, a nature themed playground, trails and Carlsbad’s first bike pump track. (Why is it called that? The track is intended to be ridden by “pumping” the body up and down to generate momentum, rather than pedaling or pushing.) Learn more

Library gearing up for a summer full of reading adventures – The annual Summer Reading Adventure will launch next week (June 10) and run until Aug. 10 at all three city library locations and online.

Most people think summer reading programs are for kids, but our library staff has specifically designed ours to include ways for adults to get involved too, including author talks and prizes grownups will enjoy like the latest board games, Kindle readers, bodyboards and more (in addition to the usual array of toys).

If you do have kids at home, you have probably heard about the “summer slide,” referring to learning loss over summer break. Programs like the Summer Reading Adventure keep students engaged and active, while encouraging a love of reading. 

How does it work?Register starting Monday, June 10, at carlsbadlibrary.beanstack.org or use the Beanstack Tracker app for your phone. Log into your account, or create one, and sign up for the Summer Reading Adventure challenge that matches your age.

Record in Beanstack the amount of time you spend reading each week.

Rewards For every 20 minutes logged, you will be entered into a weekly drawing for prizes. The more minutes you read, the more chances you have. Learn more

City construction map helps you plan – Check our weekly construction map before you hit the road to see where city projects are happening that may impact traffic. We try to get work done near schools over the summer when they’re on a break, so you’ll notice construction work on Valley Street right away. Checking the map allows you to plan ahead and take an alternate route, saving you time and helping to keep traffic flowing safely through construction zones. Remember, the map only shows city projects, not work being done by utilities or private companies. 

What’s on the agenda for your next City Council meeting – The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, June 11, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. Topics include:

  • Monthly update on the city’s investments
  • Annual assessments for the city’s Buena Vista Channel District
  • Beginning the process to set annual assessments for the city’s two lighting and landscaping districts
  • The Carlsbad Tourism Business Improvement District’s annual report
  • A maintenance agreement for the city’s digital infrastructure
  • A library donation that will pay for delivery services to people who are homebound and want to use the library
  • Advertising for bids on a project to repair or replace worn-out valves in the Carlsbad Municipal Water District distribution system
  • A state-required annual assessment of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District’s that shows we anticipate having adequate water to meet projected demands under current and dry-year conditions
  • A consultant contract to help update master plans for providing water and managing sewage
  • A construction contract and construction management and inspection agreement for a project to reconfigure the city’s Emergency Operations Center
  • Removing a road project on College Boulevard and Palomar Airport Road that is no longer needed from the city’s Capital Improvement Program and revising the plans for a road project on Melrose Drive and Palomar Airport Road
  • Continuing the local storm-related emergency proclamation to repair a slope between El Camino Real and Trieste Drive. This proclamation must be renewed at each regular City Council meeting until the emergency is declared over.
  • An update on the county’s efforts to provide more support to residents at the Windsor Pointe affordable housing project in the Barrio. The facility provides housing and support services to homeless veterans and their families as well as people with serious mental illness
  • Returning to the City Council with requested options for a potential November ballot measure asking voters to revise Proposition H, adopted by Carlsbad voters in 1982. The measure requires voter approval for certain land purchases and construction projects if the cost exceeds $1 million in city funds

See the agenda and staff reports.

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 council@carlsbadca.gov 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:

  1. Watch the meeting live on the website
  2. Watch a recording of the meeting afterward
  3. 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

Board and commission meetings are also livestreamed on the city’s website and available to watch afterward. You can see the meeting schedule on our city calendar.

If you’re traveling or celebrating graduations this weekend, please be safe and look out for one another. I’ll be back next week with more updates.

Scott Chadwick, City Manager

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City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive | Carlsbad, CA 92008


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