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Groups urge city to purchase open space land

CARLSBAD — City Council got an update from staff May 12 on the progress of the city’s acquisition of open space.
The definition of open space has caused some confusion in the past, city planners said, but usually falls under one of several categories. When reviewing open space for acquisition, the city looks at benefits to the Habitat Management Program, the citywide trail system and the potential for mitigation credit. The seller has to be willing and there has to be a benefit to the city’s open space program.
According to Diane Nygaard from Preserve Calavera, a local land conservation group, voters approved using money to purchase natural land for open space seven years ago. The group has been encouraging council to approve acquisition of open space in the northeastern part of the city.
However, the city has not had to use that option, Mayor Bud Lewis said, as the city has been able to ask developers to set aside land during planning for development. In addition, federal, state and nonprofit agencies have purchased land within the city, and those parcels have been added to open space.
The goal of the city, planners said, is to end up with roughly 40 percent open space at build-out, which the city is nearing.
Six parcels were outlined as possible acquisitions, including a portion of the land on the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Victoria Avenue.
Many proponents of open space showed up to the meeting to address City Council and encouraged them to purchase the last 3.2 acres of open space. The area, often used for hiking, is part of a larger project.
The Corky McMillin Company has indicated that some of the land where the developer is planning to build homes, the 100-acre former rock quarry near the El Salto Falls, is for sale.
City Council directed staff to review options before bringing it back to council.