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Group carries on fight to save Village H

By Alyx Sariol
CARLSBAD — Save Village H advocates came before City Council once again, pleading that the city reconsider their decision and buy a popular piece of trail area in Calavera Hills.
Save Village H members Gigi Orlowski and Walt Meier passionately explained why the land they’re fighting for in Calavera Hills is so important to the community at council’s meeting on March 9. The property at Carlsbad Village Drive and Victoria Avenue is more than just open space — it’s a place where neighbors become a family.
“It’s brought so many of us together in a way that no other community facility could,” Orlowski said.
Advocates are pushing for the city to buy the 60-acre Village H land parcel because of a special 3.5 acres, “the heart of Village H,” that houses a eucalyptus grove and dog trails. While most of the acreage has been designated as open space, this area has been zoned by the city as “community facility,” meaning a developer could build something that satisfies a “social, religious or human service needs,” Orlowski said.
She argued that the existing trails and wildlife corridor in Village H are already serving a social need and should remain intact. She urged the council to view purchasing the property as an investment in the community, not a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“It may be the best community facility that we have in Carlsbad,” Orlowski said.
Council has repeatedly denied offers to buy the property because most of it is already designated as open space. A report by staff at the March 9 meeting summarized that to purchase the entire 60-acre property “would not significantly contribute additional acreage to the city’s open space.”
Mayor Bud Lewis was adamant in his approval of the statement, saying that buying the whole lot would not be beneficial to the people of Carlsbad if it can’t be built upon. He suggested that advocates have Village H added to their tax bill if they want to buy it.
Despite many roadblocks in acquiring the land over the past 10 years, Save Village H supporters won’t back down until Village H is preserved. They have enlisted the help of Diane Nygaard of Preserve Calavera, who has experience in preserving open space in the city. She hopes that the city will not take their recent pledge drive that raised nearly $16,000 lightly and will consider partnering with the group to purchase the land as a legacy for the future of Carlsbad.
“We believe there’s a way to acquire the land that would be a win-win for everyone,” Nygaard said. “And we’ll do what we can to help the city acquire more open space.”