I am very troubled by the seemingly deliberate falsehoods that are being spread throughout Carlsbad, a place I cherish.
I have closely listened and read the assertions made by the opponents of Measure A, the Feb. 23 ballot question that will decide the fate of the property at the corner of Cannon Road and Interstate 5.
The opponents claim, over and over again, that they distrust the builder of the proposed project because he chose to follow the completely legal process of a citizens’ initiative instead of following the path through California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review to get the project approved.
They mistakenly claim that the CEQA process is responsible for shaping Carlsbad into the desirable place it has become, and that no one should be allowed to develop who doesn’t follow this process.
As I have suggested, that idea is patently untrue and I disagree vehemently. The CEQA process is not responsible for making Carlsbad what it is today.
In fact, today CEQA more often is a lawsuit-inspiring weapon against good land use planning because opponents use the courts for self-interested gain and ignore the will of the people or their elected officials.
Rather than credit CEQA, we should credit our City’s high, uncompromising standards and highly trained and trusted staff for turning Carlsbad into the wonderful place we all enjoy.
Our building standards are deliberately difficult to meet because we want to assure that our quality of life is maintained or enhanced by any new project that comes to Carlsbad. We have earned a reputation for being tough but fair: “If you will meet our standards, you can build here.”
Opponents of Measure A hold up LEGOLAND as an example of a project that should be avoided. I think their analogy is instructive, but I disagree with their conclusion because it is exactly the kind of project we want.
Twenty years ago Carlsbad residents had a big debate and voted on whether LEGOLAND should be allowed to come to Carlsbad. Then, like now, the opponents said that the project was too massive and that traffic would be unbearable and ruin of Carlsbad.
The vote was close, but Carlsbadians approved the project. Now two decades later, the vast majority of people feel that LEGOLAND is a great addition to the city and are glad the company settled here.
Like LEGOLAND, builder Rick Caruso’s plan meets or exceeds the city’s stiff standards as determined by our expert staff and independent consultants.
Plus the plan still will have to go through California Coastal Commission approval.
The city of Carlsbad’s protections for our quality of life are well in place and being well executed by our city’s imminently qualified professionals. I trust their evaluation and recommendation. I hope you will, too.
Let’s welcome this plan that offers our Carlsbad so much.
Please join me in voting “YES on Measure A” Feb. 23.
Mark Packard is a Carlsbad City Councilmember.