Future land use focus of General Plan update
May 04, 2012
The City of Carlsbad took another step toward adoption of a new General Plan
this week when the Planning Commission heard a presentation on how three possible land-use concepts would shape future development. Watch a video about the General Plan.
A city general plan is a blueprint for how the city will use land to achieve the community’s vision for the future. The City of Carlsbad is approaching a time when most of the major new development is complete. As a result the new General Plan will focus on 11 areas, rather than proposing changes throughout the entire city.
The new General Plan will adhere to the Growth Management Plan, which was adopted by voters in 1986 and controls the city’s land-use decisions. The Growth Management Plan limits the city’s total number of residential units and ensures that parks, roads and other city services keep pace with the population. It also specifies that new development pays its share for these public amenities.
The Growth Management Plan standards, along with the open space policies of the General Plan, will ensure that approximately 40 percent of the city will remain as open space forever.
“At build-out of the existing general plan we’ll likely have a little over 40 percent of the city in open space, …natural habitat open space and lagoon areas and park areas,” Carlsbad Community & Economic Development Director Gary Barberio told the Planning Commission.
The three scenarios presented to the Planning Commission address the remaining vacant and underutilized sites around the city.
Under the Centers concept, development would be directed to several new neighborhood centers along transit routes, distributed strategically to maximize accessibility from residential neighborhoods. High- and medium-density housing, as well as new parks and open spaces, would surround retail centers or be integrated in mixed-use buildings.
Under the Active Waterfronts concept, residents and visitors would enjoy waterfront dining and shopping, gathering in clusters of restaurants, cafés, and smaller stores up and down the coast. The power plant area would be eventually developed with a combination of hotel, retail and open space uses, and there could be a mixed-use development along the east side of Interstate 5. Agua Hedionda Lagoon would host community-accessible open space areas.
In the Core Focus concept, new residential and commercial uses would be located at the edges of Carlsbad’s employment core in the geographic center of the city, enabling workers to live close to jobs. Stores and restaurants would benefit from the patronage of both residents and workers.
The Carlsbad community has expressed a preference for the Active Waterfront concept through workshops and surveys.
All three concepts incorporate land uses that the community has said it wants included in the new general plan. Those include:
- Improved street connectivity
- Enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access, including better access to the coast
- Continued open space development for both community use and preservation
- Preservation of existing neighborhoods
- Consistency with the Growth Management Plan
City staff developed the three land-use concepts with input from the Envision Carlsbad Citizen’s Committee and Planning Commission. They were based on nine core values identified by the community during the first phase of Envision Carlsbad, a two-year city-sponsored public outreach and involvement process. That effort included workshops, interviews with community members, surveys and a public review committee.
Those nine core values that the community feels are important for the city’s future are:
- Small town feel, beach community character and connectedness
- Open space and the natural environment
- Access to recreation and active, healthy lifestyles
- Local economy, business diversity and tourism
- Walking, biking, public transportation and connectivity
- History, the arts and cultural resources
- High quality education and community services
- Neighborhood revitalization, community design and livability
A report providing detailed information about the three land-use concepts, as well as the Carlsbad Community Vision, is available online at www.carlsbadca.gov/envision
Barberio said the public will have many opportunities to weigh in on the plan through public workshops, meetings, and public hearings at both the Planning Commission and the City Council. The council is expected to consider the complete update in early 2013.
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