Alternative plan to 85/15 emerges from Carlsbad activist

Alternative plan to 85/15 emerges from Carlsbad activist
Carlsbad activist Cori Schumacher, center, speaking at City Council meeting last year, unveils an alternative plan on her website for the use of the proposed luxury mall on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon north of Cannon Road. File photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — An alternate plan.

It’s the latest development for opponents of the controversial Measure A. Although the plan has taken time to develop, 10-year Carlsbad resident Cori Schumacher delivered her proposal on Jan. 23.

On her website, the activist and one of several public voices against the measure, details an alternative to the proposed luxury mall and entertainment hub by Caruso Affiliated on about 26 acres of land on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

In total, Caruso Affiliated’s plan is to develop about 26 acres currently zoned for commercial use and dedicate the remaining 177 acres for open space.

Schumacher, who is not affiliated with the opposition group Citizens for North County, calls for a Land Trust in perpetuity for residents of Carlsbad.

“One of the questions that proponents have stated over and over was there is no alternative plan,” she said. “I wanted to put an idea forward that was sustainable financially as well as environmentally. That is what prompted me.”

Schumacher said it took months of research after public reports were released to counter the measure.

Although the release of her plan came one month prior to the Feb. 23 special election, she said it gives undecided voters another path to consider instead of retail-based option.

“The election is all or nothing for Caruso,” Schumacher said. “The point is there is room for alternatives on the other side of the no vote. The timing of it has everything to do with the fact I took time to research as much as possible, which was not available until the initiative was made public.”

Schumacher’s idea calls for using the Transient Occupancy Tax, which is 10 percent, and money earmarked by the city from Proposition C to purchase the land from San Diego Gas & Electric.

Currently, Caruso Affiliated has a purchase agreement with SDG&E for the land, although the purchase price has been redacted from the Public Utilities Commission application.

Nevertheless, Schumacher says the ideas are limitless and could include a museum, space for farmers markets, a solar panel field or windmills, which she said will fit with San Diego County’s plan to use 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

In addition, organic farming is another option along with adding hiking trails and creating the Agua Hedionda Conservancy.

“As far as zoning and land use goes … there are two parcels being squished into one,” Schumacher said. “With a commercial property and the idea the open space can be assisted or aided by it, the idea is Carlsbad would purchase it from SDG&E. There’s about $5 million set aside already for Proposition C that is dedicated for open space and trails. That money could be used to create the trails that Carlsbad wants to see.”

Although her proposal has come out just weeks before the election, she said it addresses concerns about an alternative plan.

Schumacher said she invites supporters and opponents of Measure A to collaborate to find a suitable option for the land. By using their collective “imagination,” she said, the area can become a bright spot for the city generating tourism and “well paid careers” instead of “low paying jobs.”

To read Schumacher’s proposal, visit corischumacher.com.

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