By Christina Macone-GreeneCARLSBAD — The Carlsbad City Council recently approved the Envision Carlsbad Draft Preferred Plan, which was championed by the Envision Carlsbad Committee.
The committee, comprised of 19 members and 19 alternates, was chosen to help identify Carlsbad’s future vision from what its residents and businesses valued most, while helping to craft a preferred land use plan that would ultimately update the city’s General Plan after its environmental impact reports.
During the city council presentation, Gary Barberio, director of community and economic development, told council members that staff was not asking them to approve any items in the Draft Preferred Plan.
“The action before you tonight really is to consider and then hopefully accept the report on the Draft Preferred Plan from the planning commission,” Barberio said. “You are receiving the report, discussing it and giving us direction.”
Barberio said that in the Draft Preferred Plan, land areas were identified in where there was the potential to accommodate future growth. These land sites, only totaling 1.5 percent of all lands in the city, were under consideration for a designation change.
“It does not eliminate any open space that exists in the city today and provides new opportunities for additional open space,” he said.
After three-and-a-half years, the Envision Carlsbad Committee recognized that its residents wanted further desirable land use features such as homes being closer to shopping centers and a more active waterfront.
The Draft Preferred Plan focused on areas such as the Barrio, Plaza Camino Real Commercial Corridor, Marja Acres, Sunny Creek Commercial, South El Camino Real and others.
The actual consideration of specific land use changes, Barberio said, would happen in public hearings, first with the planning commission and then move to a recommendation to the city council.
“Pursuant to our schedule, those public hearings would not occur until 2013 late first quarter or early second of 2013,” he said. Barberio went on to reiterate that no specific approval action would take place that evening, but merely having the city council give staff direction.
Another item discussed was incorporating a new R30 land use designation which would enable anywhere from 23 to 30 residential dwelling units per acre. Staff proposed the new R30 land use designations at the Barrio perimeter and three Palomar Corridor sites.
Barberio said R30 was a way to accommodate the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment, also known as RHNA, and to satisfy California’s expectations for lower income housing.
Ofelia Escobedo, co-owner of the longtime family business, Lola’s Market and Deli in the Village’s Barrio since 1943, expressed her concerns during the public comment section. She was present to make sure the Barrio area was represented and would not lose its identity, power or history.
Although she thought the committee and planning commission did a great job, Barrio residents and business owners were concerned about the new R-30 designation.
Escobedo said, “I want to remind you about what happened to our area back in the 1970s when the density was increased. It became neglected,” she said, adding how she understood all about city progress. “But some of us are only interested in maintaining a family-oriented neighborhood where people know each other, help each other and work together to make the neighborhood better.”