CARLSBAD — The proposed Quarry Creek residential project could help Carlsbad meet impending state housing requirements, according to city planners and the project’s developer. “(Meeting Housing Element requirements) will continue to be a challenge either with Quarry Creek or without,” said Carlsbad Principal Planner David de Cordova. He added, “If (Quarry Creek) doesn’t go forward, it would be difficult. We’ll have to find we have sufficient sites elsewhere.”
Corky McMillin Companies’ Quarry Creek residential plan proposes constructing 656 residential units on a 156-acre site located on the border of Carlsbad and Oceanside, south of state Route 78 and west of College Boulevard.
At least 500 of the proposed residential units are designated to meet the requirements of Carlsbad’s General Plan’s Housing Element per state guidelines. The plan allocates 300 units as residential, high-density units with a minimum of 20 dwellings per acre, and 200 units as residential, medium-high density units with a minimum of 20 dwellings per acre.
“Under Housing Element law, a city’s obligation is to plan for its regional share of estimated housing needs by income group,” said de Cordova. “Cities accomplish this by designating enough residential land (through zoning) at densities that can accommodate housing at all income levels,” he added. “How many units are actually built will depend on the housing market.”
California requires cities to meet these plans within set eight-year housing cycles.
Carlsbad’s current housing cycle ends April 30 this year.
Whether Carlsbad meets its housing requirements, this cycle depends on City Council’s actions on two housing Element programs: Quarry Creek and the adoption of land use and zoning changes for the Barrio area, according to de Cordova.
If the city does not meet a cycle’s Housing Element requirements, the requirements will roll over to the subsequent cycle, according to Carlsbad Senior Planner Van Lynch.
“The project provides a number of housing units critical to state housing requirements,” said Todd Galaraneau, McMillin senior vice president.
Because of the site’s proximity to public transportation, shopping, MiraCosta College, and Tri-City Hospital, Galaraneau said that it is, “an ideal site to add density.”
Galaraneau also explained that it was necessary for McMillin to build the additional 156 units that do not meet Carlsbad’s housing requirements in order to make the project economically viable to build.
Environmental advocates have opposed the project because the site includes sensitive habitats and borders the historic Marron Adobe and El Salto Falls.
While the Quarry Creek residential project was originally going to be presented in a Planning Commission public hearing on Wednesday, McMillin was granted a continuance to finish mitigation efforts with the city of Oceanside on the project’s effects on traffic. The project will now be presented at the Feb. 20 Planning Commission meeting.
The Quarry Creek residential project must receive approval in two Planning Commission hearings and two City Council hearings to gain final authorization from the city, said Lynch.