The site of the former Buena Vista Reservoir will be turned into a small park as part of a set of agreements approved by the Carlsbad City Council in March 2017. The property was previously considered to be sold for the construction of up to 14 new homes.
The agreements, which stemmed from a lawsuit against the city over its updated General Plan and Climate Action Plan, will also ensure the completion of the missing link of Poinsettia Lane, the creation of new trails and the addition of protected habitat in Carlsbad.
The new park will be around three acres and will include the following amenities: the existing water tank, children's play area, loop trail around park, picnic areas with shade, enhanced landscaping, benches throughout the park and 11 new parallel parking spaces.
The City of Carlsbad, in partnership with Lennar Homes, submitted an application for a Conditional Use Permit for the project on Dec. 13, 2018.
The project application came following presentations by city staff to the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Carlsbad City Council at their meetings on Oct. 15, 2018 and Oct. 30, 2018 respectively. The updates provided the commission and the City Council with a summary of the related agreements, the feedback gathered during the public involvement process, an overview of how the feedback was incorporated into the final conceptual design and a review of the next steps for the proposed project. On Oct. 2, 2019, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the Conditional Use Permit.
Agendas and staff reports for the Parks & Recreation Commission and the City Council meetings are available on the city's website.
Park Planning and Design
The city asked for input on the vision for the new park and three draft conceptual park designs through a neighborhood workshop and an online survey in June 2018. The design was revised based on the input received. A second public meeting was held in September 2018 to share the revised designs and the public provided comments to city staff via email. The latest designs and drawings are included below.
Buena Vista Reservoir Site (Click on images for more detail)
Park Rendering – North View
Park Rendering – Landscape Detail
Park Rendering – South View
Final Conceptual Design
Landscape Design Legends
Landscape Design Sections
Prepare construction documents: The design team will prepare construction documents and seek bids on the project.
Begin construction: After Lennar Homes selects a contractor to build the project, construction will begin in 2020.
Open park: The park is anticipated to open to the public in early 2021
Park Timeline & Budget
Planning for the park began in Spring 2018. The park is anticipated to be substantially completed within 30 months of Lennar Homes getting the grading permits (start of construction) for its Poinsettia 61 project, which occurred July 25, 2018. The park budget is $3 million and will be paid by Lennar.
How to Get Involved
Updates by email: Sign up to receive updates on the project through email by visiting the city's website at www.carlsbadca.gov, clicking the "Email updates" button and selecting the "Parks & Recreation: Buena Vista Reservoir" list.
Updates by text: Sign up to receive updates on the project via text message by texting the key word "BUENAVISTA" to 797979.
Buena Vista Reservoir Site Background
The city owns the 3.1-acre site near the corner of Highland Drive and Buena Vista Way.
The reservoir was built prior to the city’s incorporation by the Carlsbad Mutual Water Company.
When the land was transferred to the city in the late 1950s, the reservoir was no longer being used.
In 2014, city staff proposed selling the property to a private entity, who would have likely pursued a new home development.
Neighbors opposed the sale and asked the City Council to instead consider turning the property into a city park.
The city’s Growth Management Plan specifies how much park land will be created based on the number of people living in each quadrant area for the city. Developers provide money to fund the city parks, based in part on the number of future residents of their developments.
Since the city has already met the requirements for park acreage in the northwest quadrant of the city, there was no plan nor funding identified to build a park at the Buena Vista Reservoir site.
The City Council delayed the decision to sell the property to a private entity while neighbors worked with city staff to identify a way to pay for the park’s initial construction and ongoing maintenance.
General Plan Lawsuit Background
In 2016, a group called North County Advocates sued the city over the Carlsbad General Plan update and Climate Action Plan.
All cities in California are required to have a General Plan, which specifies how land will be utilized, and a Climate Action Plan, which describes how cities will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The city entered into discussions about a potential settlement, eventually bringing in other groups, including Lennar Homes, Preserve Calavera, Friends of the Buena Vista Reservoir and Friends of Aviara and suggested a “community benefit agreement” be created.
Key Terms of the Community Benefit Agreement
The Lennar Corporation submitted an application to build 123 detached homes in the vicinity of where Poinsettia Lane currently terminates, west of El Camino Real.
The construction of this housing project will trigger the completion of Poinsettia Lane to El Camino Real.
To address environmental impacts of the project, Lennar Homes will protect habitat in the project area, restore 5.7 acres of habitat within Aviara Community Park, and create 3.1 acres of habitat within the future Veterans Memorial Park property.
To satisfy Lennar’s requirement to create habitat land, the city will reclassify about three acres of land that was slated to be developed into Veterans Memorial Park (off Faraday Avenue near Cannon Road) as a preserve.
To make up for the three-acre decrease in developable park land at the Veterans Memorial Park property, the city proposed to change the use of the three-acre abandoned reservoir site to park land.
Lennar Homes will pay to build the new park, and the city will own and maintain it.