The plan meets city standards and obligations applicable to a visitor-serving commercial and open space project of this size, including funding traffic improvements and protecting lagoon water quality. In addition, the plan’s sponsor has voluntarily included a number of public benefits that go beyond those provided by other similarly sized projects recently approved in the city.
Increased Open Space with Public Access
The plan would change 21.6 of the 48.3 acres currently designated for visitor-serving commercial use to permanent open space, for a total of 176.7 acres of open space (86.9% of the plan site).
Much of the open space in the plan would be open and accessible to the public. A total of 39.4 acres of passive open space, along with a large portion of the agricultural open space areas in the plan (U-pick stand and fields) would be permanently accessible to the public.
Revenue from the visitor-serving uses would fund improvements to and maintenance of the public open space, including lookout points, approximately 2.5 to 3 miles of trails, picnic areas overlooking the lagoon and an outdoor educational classroom.
All habitat areas will be maintained in perpetuity to the strict standards outlined in Carlsbad’s Habitat Management Plan, with funding provided by the plan.
All the open space would be fully funded and maintained in perpetuity at no cost to taxpayers.
Guaranteed Continuation of Agriculture
Currently, the strawberry fields may remain at the site as long as they are “financially feasible” for the landowner.
Due to changes in the labor market, regulations and water supply, the strawberry farming operation on the site has steadily decreased in acreage of the past 10 years.
The plan would guarantee that the family that has been farming at this site for generations can continue, and the strawberry fields and farming will be finally supported by the visitor-serving commercial land uses in perpetuity.
Thorough Environmental Review
Although not required, the project sponsor prepared more than 4,000 pages of technical studies and analysis identifying the environmental impacts and committing the sponsor to implement mitigation measures (Environmental Protection Features).
The level of environmental analysis completed is consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act, often called CEQA.
City staff and third party experts reviewed the documents, studies and analysis and found it to be sound.
Extensive Public Involvement
The project sponsor has spent over three and a half years meeting with community members and inviting input on the plan.
The plan reflects the community’s priorities of maintaining open space, providing public access to open space, preserving the strawberry fields and protecting the lagoon and habitat areas.
This public outreach and involvement effort goes far beyond what is required and what is typically done, even by our most community-oriented developers.