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Open Space

At a Glance

Watch a video about how Measure A would affect open space in Carlsbad.


  • As it stands today, about 155 acres of the plan site are designated as open space, and about 48 acres are designated for visitor-serving commercial development.
  • Measure A would change 21.6 of the 48.3 acres currently designated for visitor-serving commercial use to permanent open space, bringing the total open space land to 176.7 acres.
  • The remaining 26.7 acres would be the site of the visitor-serving commercial development.
  • Measure A would also limit how this open space land could be used.
  • Currently, under Proposition D, you could build a museum, recreation center, ball field or even an aquarium on the land designated for open space.
  • Measure A would make much of the open space land open and accessible to the public with trails, picnic areas and look out points.
  • Other uses allowed under Measure A would be open space that is home to sensitive plants and animals, which would be managed according to the biological standards outlined in the city’s Habitat Management Plan.
  • Agriculture is another use allowed in the open space and includes coastal agriculture like strawberry farming, buildings and other uses that support agriculture. This includes things like a farmers market, farm-to-table dining and “you-pick” strawberry fields, similar to what is there today. 
  • The initial improvements to this open space land and its ongoing maintenance is valued at between $10 and $16.5 million.
  • The maintenance and operations of this open space land would be paid for by the visitor-serving commercial uses, private funding, or both – not taxpayer money -- and the open space uses would be guaranteed indefinitely.

More Details

The Growth Management Program standard for Open Space requires that "15 percent of the total land area in the Local Facilities Master Plan Zone, exclusive of environmentally constrained non-developable land, must be set aside for permanent open space and must be available concurrent with development." See maps comparing open space if Measure A passes and if it does not.

  • Today, Zone 13 meets this Open Space standard.
  • The FY 13-14 GM Monitoring Report indicates that Zone 13 provides 143.1 acres of Growth Management Program qualifying open space in excess of the required Growth Management Program amount of open space (79.7 acres required; 222.8 acres provided; excess of 143.1 acres).

Plan Adds Open Space, Accessible to the Public

The Plan adds 15.9 acres of Agricultural Support Open Space to area, increasing the amount of excess Growth Management Program qualifying open space to 159 acres.

  •  Prop D preserved 155.1 acres of the plan area as permanent open space, however:
    • Those lands are privately held.
    • Habitat areas, while primarily contained in an open space easement, are not being biologically maintained consistent with Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan standards. 
    • Continuation of agricultural uses on the land is not financially guaranteed in perpetuity.
  • The plan provides for a total of 176.7 acres of Open Space (155.1 acres of Prop D + 15.9 acres of Ag Support Open Space + 5.7 acres of land under the SDG&E power lines = 176.7 acres).  

Plan Protects Habitat Management Plan Open Space

  • The 176.7 acres of open space is set aside as either Habitat Management Plan land (75.8 acres), exclusive agricultural land (45.6 acres), agricultural support land (15.9 acres) or passive open space land (39.4 acres). 
  • The plan will permanently place the Habitat Management Plan land in a conservation easement and financially provide for the management of the habitat to Habitat Management Plan standards in perpetuity.  

Passive Open Space

  • The plan provides that the 39.4 acres of passive open space lands will be permanently placed in an open space easement that provides for public access in perpetuity.
  • The passive open space lands will be improved with trails, viewing areas, picnic areas and an outdoor education area, with all improvements provided by the plan and all maintenance costs to be covered by the plan in perpetuity.

Agricultural Open Space

  • The plan provides that the agriculture support (15.9 acres) and the exclusive agriculture lands (45.6 acres) will be permanently placed in an agricultural easement, and farming on these lands will be financially guaranteed in perpetuity. Read more about agriculture. 

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