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History of Growth Management

As anyone who has moved here in the past three decades – and thus contributed to the population increase – knows, growth in coastal Southern California cannot be stopped altogether. But, it can be managed.  


The existing General Plan calls for maintaining adequate public facilities as the city grows, but offers no standards or methods of implementation.


The City Council adopts a policy stating that public facilities are adequate to serve existing development, but not sufficient for additional development without generating new revenue sources to build the facilities.

Early 1980s

A historic building boom throughout San Diego County fuels the concerns of the City Council and residents. A top concern is that rapid population growth and inadequate facilities will adversely affect the quality of life. The City Council agrees with a special Citizens’ Committee report that deems it necessary “to ensure that all public improvements, facilities and services are in place in all portions of the city when they are needed.”


The registered voters of Carlsbad approve Proposition E, the Growth Management Ordinance, which has become known as the Growth Management Plan.


The GMP is considered a success by most existing and incoming residents — who are pleased to know enhancements such as Fire Stations #5 and #6, new parks and schools, major street improvements, open space and conservation resource management plans are in place — and that new facilities will be built to serve the growing city’s new needs. The security of comprehensive fire and police protection adequate to meet a growing population is ensured as well. The GMP also earns accolades from outside the city, including a coveted ORCHID from the San Diego chapter of Architects and Planners Association, an award of excellence from the League of California Cities and national recognition from Rutgers University. People who live, work and play in Carlsbad enjoy an excellent quality of life with exceptional parks, libraries, arts and culture. Roads, the water and sewer system, and other infrastructure are well maintained, and about 40 percent of the city has been set aside as permanent open space. Without the Growth Management Plan, many of these projects might have been accomplished, but probably not with the same priorities of time and money.