The revised draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan, which establishes a vision for future development and land uses in these two historic neighborhoods, is now available for public review and feedback. Copies of the plan are available at the city’s libraries, Faraday Center, Senior Center and City Clerk’s Office and online at www.carlsbadca.gov/villagebarrio.
The Village and Barrio Master Plan will replace the Carlsbad Village Master Plan and Design Manual, which was adopted in 1996 and has been revised periodically since, most recently in 2014.
The master plan focuses on enhancing neighborhood character, community gathering spaces and economic vitality, based on ideas gathered from the community starting in September 2014. Hundreds of community members participated in hands-on design sessions, an online forum, technical sessions and public meetings. Along with establishing a vision, the proposed plan refines, rather than significantly changes, the current development standards under which development in the Village and Barrio is presently occurring.
“This plan is really a refinement of the existing development standards rather than a significant change,” said City of Carlsbad Senior Planner Scott Donnell. “The goal is to maintain the character and history of these two neighborhoods by ensuring future development is carried out according to a set of standards reflective of the Village and Barrio and tied to a unified vision.”
Following the November 2015 release of the draft plan, the city asked for feedback online and at public meetings and during two Planning Commission meetings. More than 50 comments were received in writing. According to Donnell, comments have focused primarily on parking, community character, building height, architecture, historic preservation, and access for cars, bikers and walkers.
Based on this input, the following are some of the changes made to the draft plan:
An expanded discussion regarding historical resources
Refined recommendations to improve walking, especially in the Barrio
Clarification and revisions to development standards, including permitted uses
“People love these two parts of Carlsbad and feel very protective over them,” said Donnell. “That’s a good thing, and that’s why we want to make sure people have a chance to weigh in at every step of the plan’s creation.”
According to Donnell, the master plan includes conceptual ideas and drawings meant to spur creative thinking.
“We are hearing a lot of comments that seem to be based on drawings included in the plan,” said Donnell. “Those are not plans, just ideas. The real meat of the plan is the overall vision and development and design standards. That’s what we’d most like to hear feedback on.”
Among the concepts included in the plan are new access opportunities that could result from putting the coastal railroad tracks through the Village and Barrio underground in a trench. The San Diego Association of Governments is adding a second parallel track along the coast and has agreed to study the option of trenching the tracks below ground level, at the City of Carlsbad’s request.
Other ideas for the Village include:
Make Grand Avenue more pedestrian-friendly by creating a promenade.
Create public plazas at Grand Avenue and State Street and other places.
Improve streets and sidewalks west of Carlsbad Boulevard, benefitting drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Tunnel beneath Interstate 5 to connect Grand Avenue to the east side of the freeway.
Ideas for the Barrio include:
Along the streets, add crosswalks, trees and pedestrian-scaled lighting and improvements to "calm" automobile traffic.
Construct a roundabout at Tamarack Avenue and Jefferson Street to create a gateway to the Barrio and beach.
Ensure new development is in keeping with the current character of the area.
According to Donnell, the city decided to combine the Village and Barrio under one master plan to enhance connectivity between the two areas.
The plan also focuses on alternatives to traveling by car, such as walking and biking. The city already has emphasized making the Village and Barrio more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly by placing more than 100 bike racks and corrals in both neighborhoods and by making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross Carlsbad Boulevard and Grand Avenue. The plan also includes ways to increase parking in the Village and Barrio and ideas for emerging transportation choices, such as a shuttle system and ride sharing. The city is preparing to do a parking study of the Village, Barrio and beach area that will help further inform future parking strategies in the master plan’s area. The city will also be seeking community input on ideas to improve parking in connection to the study.
Public input on the revised draft will be considered as part of the preparation of the final master plan, which will be presented to the Planning Commission and then the City Council for adoption.