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Village and Barrio Master Plan under repair

CARLSBAD — A portion of the Village and Barrio Master Plan was not approved by the California Coastal Commission, thus remanding 40% of the plan back to the city to add 23 modifications.

The commission heard the item on June 13 in San Diego. The staff recommendation was for the body to approve if Carlsbad applied 23 modifications to the plan, zoning ordinances and components of the Village and Mello II Local Coastal Program.

“A lot of the changes  that were approved as part of the Coastal Commission approval will be applied outside the Coastal Zone,” said Scott Donnell, Carlsbad’s senior planner. “Those were the changes felt necessary to approve the document.”

The master plan has long been a source of division for some in the city, especially residents in the Village and Barrio.

One source of contention is height limits in the Village being increased to 45 feet, while the previous Village Master Plan set the limit at 40 feet.

Parking, lighting in the Barrio, traffic calming and bikes lanes, among others, have also been issues discussed prior to the City Council approving the master plan last year.

However, the Coastal Commission did not address the height limits, Donnell said.

Most of the commission’s concerns are around land use, parking, public beach access and how projects on Carlsbad Village Drive or Carlsbad Boulevard would affect access.

“They are very concerned about making sure whatever is approved implements the Coastal Act,” Donnell said. “One thing is public access. If we were to narrow the street or add parking, they want to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect someone getting to the beach.”

As for the moratorium, Debbie Fountain, the city’s community and economic development director, said staff has only begun surface level work on the issue as the City Council has not approved a specific direction.

On June 11, Carlsbad Councilwoman Barbara Hamilton motioned for a discussion item during the June 25 meeting regarding a time-bound moratorium on construction and development in the Village and Barrio.

Hamilton’s motion passed, 3-0, with Mayor Matt Hall and Councilwoman Cori Schumacher recused from the vote.

Fountain said the moratorium could include stopping the city from issuing all building permits or development in both areas.

However, the council must decide if there is an emergency, which would then create temporary restrictions, she added.

If an emergency moratorium is passed, it would only last for 45 days, Fountain said, and would require a four-fifths vote. A non-emergency moratorium, meanwhile, would require noticing the potential action and a public hearing.

Fountain said a possible moratorium could range from stopping existing development and permits to all new projects being stopped from obtaining permits, to name a few.

“We really don’t know why they want to have the discussion because they couldn’t have the discussion without it being on the agenda,” Fountain said. “They have to put it on the agenda before they can tell us what their intent is and what they want to do.”

Additionally, the City Council will also have to approve the 23 modifications described by the Coastal Commission, Fountain and Donnell said.

Photo caption: A construction worker stands atop the Carlyle Carlsbad Village apartment developing in the Village on June 17. The California Coastal Commission did not approve 40% of the Carlsbad Village and Barrio Master plan last week. Photo by Steve Puterski

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