CARLSBAD — Embracing her new role as City Councilmember, Lorraine Wood said she anticipates that the Quarry Creek development project, and enhancement of the Village area will be the big issues facing Carlsbad in 2013.
“As a new councilmember you can imagine the things I don’t know,” said Wood, who served as City Clerk for the past 12 years before being elected to City Council in November. “Being clerk, it’s a lot about taking notes, having records available, and this is more about learning about the city in any way I can.”
As a result, she’s been catching up on City Council matters, some of which have been years in the making.
The Quarry Creek project was first submitted to Carlsbad’s Planning Commission in 2010 and proposes to build 656 homes on a 156-acre site located south of state Route 78 and west of College Boulevard.
The land is owned by Hanson Aggregates and The Corky McMillin Companies is the developer of the project.
The city’s Planning Commission will make its recommendation this month on the project, and City Council will then make a final decision most likely in February.
Wood said that the project is of particular interest because of the anticipated traffic increase and its location near natural habitats, including El Salto Falls.
She said the city has received a great deal of comments, both for and against, from the public about this project.
“What I’ve seen so far (of the submitted comments) is about 50-50, but there has been a lot of input from the citizens,” said Wood.
In early November, Preserve Calavera, along with other community groups, encouraged the Planning Commission and City Council to approve an alternate project, which would build only 506 houses on the site.
Wood said she has been studying the project’s environmental impact report and walking along the site to prepare for when it comes before the Council.
Aside from the Quarry Creek project, Wood said she has particular interest in promoting projects that will make Carlsbad Village “more vibrant.”
“(The Village was) a very important area to me when I was running for office,” said Wood about the neighborhood and business area along Carlsbad Village Drive and the nearby beach.
While she has not docketed any formal proposals, Wood hopes that the Council will consider putting more emphasis on developing the area.
She said she intends to start up conversations with architects, designers, residents and business owners to, “look at the Village we have now, and imagine what it could look like.”
To her, the Village has the potential to handle greater housing density along its coastline due to its proximity to public transportation and numerous local businesses.
To handle the increase, she aims to make the Village even more pedestrian and bike-friendly, and add more amenities like a drugstore to the neighborhood.
While it will be some time before the Quarry Creek project and enhancements to Carlsbad Village are addressed by City Council, Wood said she is excited just to get started in her new role.
“I’m really looking forward to casting my first vote, that’s really exciting for me having sat there for 12 years on the dais,” Wood said.