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Q & A

 What is a master plan and how is it reviewed and approved?

A master plan is a focused planning document that provides direction and standards for land use and development that are specific to a particular area. It does this through graphics, text and tables. Because it is a document that regulates land use and development, it must be consistent with the city’s General Plan and must be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission and City Council. For the Coastal Zone portions of the Village and Barrio, the master plan must also be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

The proposed master plan will serve as a stand-alone document, regulating only land use and development in the Village and Barrio. It will include policies and appropriate development and land use regulations to implement the community’s vision for the Barrio and the Village. The master plan’s contents will address and provide standards for land use, development, signs, parking, and the design review and the development approval process. Additionally, the master plan will include design guidelines for the two neighborhoods.

Throughout the review and approval process, public input is crucial. The master plan contents will be shaped by the public input received during the review process. The draft illustrative plan, visualizations and development concepts prepared during the charrette will be refined to best illustrate the community’s short- and long-term goals for the Village and Barrio.

 Why is the city preparing a master plan?

Revitalization of the Village is a City Council priority project. Renewal efforts have included installation of decorative lighting, new benches and hanging baskets and adoption of a curb café policy. Preparing a master plan represents another way to revitalize the Village.

As with the Village, continued enhancement of the Barrio, along with recognition of its historic aspects, would be assisted by a master plan. A master plan would also give the Barrio the tools needed to successfully implement the increased residential densities for the area approved by City Council in early 2013.

The Carlsbad Community Vision, adopted in 2010 to identify the community’s most important core values and guiding principles as it plans for its future, encourages Village and Barrio rejuvenation.

 What is the difference between the General Plan and the proposed Village and Barrio Master Plan?

The General Plan is a city-wide planning document and serves as a blueprint for all land use and growth in Carlsbad. All land use documents, including the proposed Village and Barrio Master Plan, must be consistent with the General Plan. The General Plan recognizes the unique qualities of the Village and Barrio and encourages revitalization of these neighborhoods.

Unlike the broad, city-wide coverage of the General Plan, the proposed Master Plan would center on the specific needs of two distinct Carlsbad neighborhoods only – the Barrio and the Village. The Master Plan will implement the General Plan and will guide land uses and development in a way that is tailored to each neighborhood.

What happens to the existing Village Master Plan and Design Manual?

The Village Master Plan and Design Manual, originally adopted in 1995, would be entirely replaced by the proposed master plan. The new master plan would be expanded to include the adjacent Barrio neighborhood. As proposed, current master plan boundaries would change to incorporate the Barrio.

Why does the Barrio need a master plan?

As future development/redevelopment occurs in the Barrio, it will be important that future improvements are sensitive to the neighborhood’s walkable, residential character, its history and cultural resources. As the proposed master plan will focus on just the Barrio and Village areas, it can be tailored to recognize the Barrio’s special qualities in a way that a city-wide planning document, such as the Zoning Ordinance, cannot.

In fall 2013, city staff met with two small groups of Barrio stakeholders to discuss the concept of expanding the Village master planning effort to include the Barrio; the concept was received favorably.

What are the boundaries of the Barrio?

For initial planning purposes, the boundaries of the Barrio are considered to be north of Tamarack Avenue, south of Oak Avenue, east of the railroad and west of Interstate 5. As part of the proposed master plan, these boundaries may be refined.

What is "smart growth" and a "smart growth opportunity area"?

Together, the Barrio and Village neighborhoods are a “smart growth opportunity area” as designated by SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments. They are so designated because of their proximity to transit (e.g., the Coaster/Amtrak station), compact land use and grid street pattern, and flat topography that are excellent for bicycling and walking. Both neighborhoods represent an opportunity to accommodate smart growth, new residents and businesses located in close proximity to one another in a compact, walkable environment.

Smart Growth refers to a series of planning principles and strategies that support compact urban development that is environmentally sensitive, economically viable, community-oriented, and sustainable.

Although every community must define what Smart Growth means to them at the local and regional levels, there are generally 10 core principles which have been adopted by SANDAG.

  • Mix land uses
  • Take advantage of compact building design
  • Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
  • Create walkable neighborhoods
  • Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
  • Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas
  • Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
  • Provide a variety of transportation choices
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective
  • Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decision