Glass-blowing studio coming to Carlsbad Village

Glass-blowing studio coming to Carlsbad Village
The Carlsbad City Council denied an appeal and will allow Barrio Glassworks replace two structures currently sitting on site at 3060 Roosevelt St. Photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — The city’s vibrant arts scene in the Village and Barrio is getting another addition.

The City Council denied an appeal 4-0 (Mayor Matt Hall recused himself) and gave the green light to Barrio Glassworks, which will reside at 3060 Roosevelt St., and is currently home to Mixed Vapes and a former skateboard business.

Barrio Glassworks owner Mary Devlin said the studio is much needed in Carlsbad and San Diego County, as only about half a dozen studios call the region home.

The project was approved by the Carlsbad Planning Commission on Sept. 5, 2018, but was appealed by Cameron Wetzler, owner of the Elm Street Boardshop, which set up in the former Bank of America ATM.

Wetzler, however, did not appear at the hearing since he was able to move his store across from the Village Faire, according to media reports.

“I did the door-to-door and talked to the business owners because I wanted to make sure the community felt the same way about this project as I did,” Devlin said. “They expressed, really welcomed the idea that there was more art coming to the community.”

The art studio, meanwhile, will replace the two businesses with a 2,323-square-foot structure.

Devlin also addressed safety and health concerns, noting her facility will house an electric kiln. Glass blowing requires extreme heat to melt the components into glass.

In addition, while toxins can occur from the reaction, Devlin said her combinations do not produce toxins during the process.

The studio will also house and showcase other glass blowers’ collections, while offering free seminars for visitors.

“When we designed our shop, we specifically looked at an electric furnace,” Devlin said.

Resident Gary Raskin, Devlin’s husband and co-owner of Barrio Glassworks, read a letter of support from Michael Hernandez, a professor of glass blowing at Palomar College. Hernandez’s experience includes overseeing projects such as at Ball State University in Indiana.

As for the compounds and their toxicity, Hernandez said they are added before the initial melting stage and do not become airborne. The pre-melted glass that Devlin and Raskin will use mitigates those concerns, Raskin said.

“Electric furnaces … are non-combustive and only need to circulate fresh air three to four times per hour,” he read. “It is our intent to address it by having a proper ventilation system and keep it quiet.”

During the Planning Commission meeting, 29 people spoke in opposition of the project with only three in support. Most of those in support lobbied for the skate shop to remain on site. Wetzler had initially filed the appeal citing public safety and concerns about the chemicals.

However, the new use is exempt from the San Diego Air Pollution Control District rules and regulations, according to the city staff report.

Regardless, Wetzler was able to relocate his store and offered no defense of the appeal.

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