Envision Carlsbad was a comprehensive, community-wide visioning process to identify the community’s vision of Carlsbad’s future. Envision Carlsbad asked community members to identify what is most important to them today and in the future, and the challenges and opportunities to protecting and enhancing quality of life for the next 20 to 30 years. Read more about the Carlsbad Community Vision that resulted from Envision Carlsbad.
The community’s input received during Envision Carlsbad is reflected in the Carlsbad Community Vision, which was accepted by the City Council in January 2010. The Carlsbad Community Vision identifies the community’s most important core values for the future, and will be used to guide city operations and decisions.
Some parts of the community’s vision are outside the city’s jurisdiction, such as schools and health care. In those cases, the city is partnering with other entities to share the community’s vision and identify ways to work together to achieve it.
A General Plan defines the community" vision for the future growth and development of the city. It is a long-term document with text and diagrams that express the goals, objectives, and policies necessary to guide the community toward achieving its vision over a 20-30 year period. A General Plan is only successful when it reflects the priorities and values of the community, and is a key tool for influencing quality of life.
City decision-makers (e.g., City Council and Planning Commission), rely on the General Plan as basis for making decisions on matters such as land use, and the provision of public facilities (e.g., roads, parks, fire stations, etc). It is also a policy document that guides decisions related to protecting, enhancing, and providing those things that the community values most, such as open space, habitat conservation, beach preservation, arts, and protecting the character of the community.
All cities and counties in California are required by law to have a General Plan.
State law mandates that each city and county in California adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The purpose is to plan for important community issues such as new growth, housing needs, and environmental protection. Furthermore, the General Plan is used to project future demand for services such as sewer, water, roadways, parks, and emergency services.
A General Plan consists of goals, objectives, and policies to achieve the community" vision. State law requires that every General Plan, at a minimum, address certain subject categories (called "elements"), which include land use, circulation, housing, conservation of natural resources, open space, noise, and safety. A General Plan may also address other subjects that are of importance to the community" future, such as sustainability, community design, and public art.
A zoning ordinance is one of the primary tools to implement the city goals and policies (i.e. General Plan and Local Coastal Program). It contains development regulations and standards that govern the use of land, such as where certain types of uses can be located, and the placement, spacing, and sizing of buildings, open spaces and other facilities/structures.
A Local Coastal Program (LCP) is a tool to guide development within the Coastal Zone, and is intended to ensure public access to and protection of coastal resources consistent with the California Coastal Act. A LCP consists of policies (like the General Plan) and an implementing ordinance (Zoning Ordinance). While a LCP reflects the unique characteristics of the community it applies to, regional and statewide interests and concerns must also be addressed. The topics that a LCP must address are defined by State law (California Coastal Act), and overlap with those in a General Plan and zoning ordinance.
An environmental impact report is a detailed analysis of the environmental effects of a plan or development project. The EIR identifies alternatives to the proposed project and presents ways to reduce or avoid environmental damage. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a general plan is considered a project, thus requiring that an EIR be completed in conjunction with the plan. Community members can provide input at two different phases in the EIR process: in response to the Notice of Preparation (NOP), declaring that an EIR is going to be prepared, and to the Draft EIR itself.