CARLSBAD — Residents in South Carlsbad are beginning to publicly voice their displeasure with a proposed development near Ponto beach.
The proposal, a residential project by Shopoff Realty Investments of Irvine, is too dense and doesn’t fit with the character of the neighborhood, according to Farhad Sharifi of the Ponto Beachfront Development Review Committee, a subcommittee of the San Pacific Homeowner’s Association.
The project calls for 136 condos, between 40 and 45 feet on the 11-acre lot east of Ponto Drive and north of Avenida Encinas. Shopoff also has rights to a 3-acre parcel on the west side of Ponto Drive, which it’s planning for a commercial center.
“It would be fantastic to have a park there,” Sharifi said. “That would be our wish, which has been declined. The developer has ignored us.”
At the core of the concerns for nearby homeowners associations and resident groups is the lack of a public park and open space, as mandated by the Growth Management Plan and other city policies for the southwest quadrant of the city.
On April 17 during the City Council meeting, Jean Camp, who is also part of the group, spoke to relay the residents’ concerns. She said 6.6 acres of park space for South Carlsbad is missing and no park is near the area.
The closest, she said, is Poinsettia Park or others in Encinitas. In addition, North Carlsbad has 10 coastal parks, while South Carlsbad has none.
As for open space, she said there is a 30-acre deficiency and the lack of analysis by the developer is concerning.
Additionally, the group says if they will not get a park, then the developer should stay within the two-story, 35-foot maximum consistent with the Ponto Beachfront Village Vision Plan.
“Right now, you have six miles of coast without a park,” Camp said. “The taxes, facilities and park-in-lieu fees were paid to the city so that we could get that acreage of park where we need it.”
The city, though, said the park space would be added to Veterans Park, which is on Faraday Avenue between Cannon Road and College Boulevard.
Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazeltine said the dwelling unit requirement was removed and the city is deficient by the six acres for a park; however, Veterans Park is where the acreage would be situated. He said a preliminary master plan is scheduled to be developed next year.
In addition, the city said the open space dedicated to the Ponto area has been in the works for years via the Linear Park, which would coverage between 50 and 100 acres (40 percent in Ponto), according to Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio. However, the challenge is shifting the four lanes of the Highway 101 to create the space needed for the park south of Manzano Drive to La Costa Avenue, which is just north of the highway and Palomar Airport Road split.
“The southbound lanes would be relocated east to be adjacent to the northbound lanes in either a two-lane or four-lane configuration,” Barberio said. “There have been no plans designed or vetted by the City Council yet. It’s an idea, a concept.”
Lance Schulte, a former city planner and member of the group, said the developer is proposing to change land use regulations. Those regulations require a developer to consider using the land as a public park, which he said has never been analyzed by the city.
Camp submitted a plan for the park including an athletic field, multi-purpose field, recreation building, a playground, parking, a looped trail and other features.