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Growth Management

Established in 1986, the Growth Management Program directly links future residential, commercial and industrial development to the provision of public facilities and services through five major concepts:

Facility performance standards. Performance standards are established for each of 11 public facilities and services, eight of which are provided directly by the City of Carlsbad and three of which are provided (at least in part) by other agencies.

City provided:

  • City administrative facilities
  • Libraries
  • Parks
  • Drainage
  • Circulation (roads)
  • Fire response times
  • Open space
  • Sewer collection system

Provided by other agencies:

  • Schools
  • Water service/emergency water storage
  • Wastewater treatment

Establish how large the city will get. The future maximum size of the city is established by limiting the total number of residential units to 54,600 dwelling units by quadrant. The City Council has established both policies and an accounting system to assure that the limits are observed. To assure compliance, an accounting system was set up for each quadrant.  When individual projects use fewer than allocated by the General Plan, these units would be held on account in the Excess Dwelling Unit Bank, and later could be withdrawn and applied to another project pursuant to Council Policy 43. The city's General Plan establishes the level of future commercial and industrial development.

Plan facilities to match future demand. The city uses a three-phase approach.

  • The "Citywide Facilities and Improvement Plan" establishes the 11 public facility performance standards and establishes principles for capital financing plans.
  • "Local Facility Management Plans" are established for 25 sub-areas of the city.
  • Development is reviewed for compliance with the Citywide Plan and the appropriate Local Facility Management Plan. Special conditions, phasing and other requirements may apply.

Tie development to performance. If at any time a proposed development would result in a failure of any of the adopted facility performance standards, the development cannot be approved until the problem is resolved.

Monitor development. Active monitoring programs assure that performance standards are being met and the limit on residential building permits is being observed.

Development projects pay for new facilities. Therefore, as the rate of development ebbs and flows, so does the rate of providing new facilities. All development since 1986 has been carried out in accordance with the Growth Management Plan.

The City Council, on Sept. 16, 1986, (as amended on April 22, 1997), created the following performance standards through adoption of the Citywide Facilities and Improvements Plan.  These standards are real standards, not simply goals or aspirations. Development cannot proceed unless the standards are met.

Facilities provided by City of Carlsbad

City administrative facilities – 1,500 sq. ft. per 1,000 population must be scheduled for construction within a five-year period or prior to construction of 6,250 dwelling units, beginning at the time the need is first identified.

Libraries – 800 sq. ft. per 1,000 population must be scheduled for construction within a five-year period or prior to construction of 6,250 dwelling units, beginning at the time the need is first identified.

Parks – 3.0 acres of community park or special use area per 1,000 population within the park district ¹ must be scheduled for construction within a five-year period or prior to construction of 1,562 dwelling units within the park district beginning at the time the need is first identified.

Drainage – Drainage facilities must be provided as required by the city concurrent with development.

Circulation – No road segment or intersection in the zone nor any road segment or intersection out of the zone which is impacted by development in the zone shall be projected to exceed a service level C during off-peak hours, nor service level D during peak hours. Impacted means where 20 percent or more of the traffic generated by the local facility management zone will use the road segment or intersection.

Fire response – No more than 1,500 dwelling units outside of a five-minute response time.

Open space Fifteen percent of the total land area in the zone exclusive of environmentally constrained non-developable land must be set aside for permanent open space and must be available concurrent with development.

Sewer collection system – Trunk line capacity to meet demand as determined by the appropriate sewer district must be provided concurrent with development.

Facilities provided by other agencies

Schools – School capacity to meet projected enrollment within the zone as determined by the appropriate school district must be provided prior to projected occupancy ².  The city is served by four school districts: In addition to Carlsbad Unified, parts of S.E. Quadrant are served by San Marcos Unified, San Dieguito Union High School, and Encinitas Union Elementary districts.

Water distribution system – Line capacity to meet demand as determined by the appropriate water district must be provided concurrent with development. A minimum of 10-day average storage capacity must be provided prior to any development.  The Leucadia Wastewater District and San Marcos County Water District serve portions of the S.E. Quadrant and have their own emergency water storage standards.

Wastewater treatment – Sewer plan capacity is adequate for at least a five-year period.  Treatment is provided by the Encina Wastewater Control Facility.

  1. "park district" = "quadrant". There are four park districts within the city, corresponding to the four quadrants.
  2. In 1999 statewide Proposition 1a limited developer participation in school construction to payment of fees on a per-square-foot basis for new homes, as established by a state fee schedule.

Contact Information

Planning Department
planning@carlsbadca.gov
760-602-4600 general
760-602-4610 zoning
760-602-8558 fax

1635 Faraday Ave.
Carlsbad, CA  92008

General Information

Business hours
Monday - Thursday
7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.