CARLSBAD — In two weeks, portions of the recently passed Carlsbad Village and Barrio Master Plan will go into effect.
The areas outside the Coastal Zone fall under the new timeline, while inside the Coastal Zone, the plan will not begin until it is approved by the California Coastal Commission, which could take until 2019, according to Scott Donnell, senior planner for the city of Carlsbad.
Donnell detailed several elements of the plan including land use designations, which are related to many of the loudest complaints against the plan. Additionally, the city also incorporated the Barrio neighborhood, which was not part of the Village Master Plan approved about 20 years ago.
“In a lot of ways, the districts in this plan are similar to those in the old plan,” Donnell said. “The boundaries, at least in the Village, weren’t radically changed. The Barrio, south of Oak (Avenue), never had districts. The districts for that really just followed the General Plan designations for that area … because three to four years ago the city revised the permitted densities in the Barrio.”
The city broke the two neighborhoods into eight designations. The Village Center received the most attention, as 45-foot height limits within the district will remain. Elsewhere in the Village and Barrio, heights are limited to 35 feet.
In the Pine-Tyler district, the heights were raised in the new plan to 35 feet, from 30 feet under the current plan. Those are the only two height increases in the plan, Donnell said. The Pine-Tyler district was included since the adjacent districts were already at 35 feet.
The Village Center area, considered the core of the Village, allows for mixed-use buildings and focused on creating a retail environment, leveraging restaurants and their draw, with residences or office space on the upper floors.
Village General, which is in the northern most part of the Village, is more general as the name states, but recognizes a transition between the more intense Village Center and the residential areas near Laguna Drive, Donnell explained.
“Densities are lower, heights are lower,” he added of the Village General. “It’s more low-key type stuff.”
As for density, the Village Center and Freeway Commercial are the highest with a range of 28 to 35 dwelling units per developable acre, followed by the Barrio Perimeter at 23 to 30, Village General, Hospitality and Pine-Tyler at 18 to 23 and Barrio Core at eight to 15. However, residential development in Barrio Perimeter and Barrio Core cannot exceed the Growth Management Control Point levels of 25 and 11.5, respectively, according to the plan.
As for existing structures, Donnell said there are no major changes and individuals, businesses or schools (Army and Navy Academy) are not in jeopardy.
“In a way, it was if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Donnell said.
Other aspects of land uses include sidewalk and curb cafes, outdoor displays and parking, to name a few.
The Barrio neighborhood finally was able to secure special planning for the area, Donnell said. A proposal was introduced in the mid-1990s, but did not get approved, he added.
In 2013, city staff reached out to the residents of the Barrio to gauge interest in its inclusion within the Village Master Plan. Donnell said there was no pushback and the area was included, and now the combined area, with the Village, is 350 acres.
“They were receptive and we went with it,” Donnell said. “There really has not been any kind of issue of including the Barrio.”
As for development, he said there are “minimal” vacant lots scattered throughout the area. Donnell said much of the development will likely be redevelopment projects.
“It’s picked up more in the Village than the Barrio,” he added. “There is interest in the proposals. Generally, it tends to be tearing down and rebuilding.”