VISITOR COMMERCIAL LAND USE DENIED BY CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION ON ENCINA PARCEL AND SOUTH SHORE OF THE AGUA HEDIONDA LAGOON
Carlsbad City Council Candidate Cori Schumacher successfully organizes group to oppose land use change along coast.
NEWPORT BEACH, CA. MAY 11, 2016: Cori Schumacher led a team of residents in successfully stopping proposed land use designation changes, as part of Carlsbad’s Local Coastal Program, when they went up for approval by the California Coastal Commission. While the City of Carlsbad maintained that the land use designation change from “Travel Recreation” (T/R) to “Visitor Commercial” (V/C) was merely semantics, Schumacher’s team disagreed. In March, Schumacher identified that the V/C designation would allow for Residential uses, a change which is referred to as “substantive.” Schumacher launched a citizens’ letter writing campaign to the Coastal Commission outlining the change, and effectively had the residential uses removed from V/C in late April.
The V/C commercial designation became a hot topic among residents last week when they realized V/C would be applied to both the Encina Parcel (the Power Plant) after its decommissioning, and on the South Shore of the Agua Hedionda (the same piece of land for which voters rejected a shopping mall, via a special election on February 23rd). Leading up to yesterday’s meeting, the City continued to maintain that Carlsbad needed more V/C land use and that with the residential now omitted, it was once again a mere word change. City Council Mayor Matt Hall and Asst City Manager Gary Barberio spoke before the Commission yesterday, and urged the land use changes to be approved, as is.
Ms. Schumacher and the citizens’ spoke in opposition to the City’s positions and succinctly outlined the following arguments:
The residents of Carlsbad want The Encina Parcel to be Open Space, not V/C.
The City already has a net increase of V/C land, even without the two parcels.
The Coastal Commission should follow through on their advisement, and require the City to conduct a comprehensive analysis to see if there is a need for more V/C use in the Coastal Zone.
The V/C land use had an additional substantive change: it allowed for regional shopping centers, via a city memo dated April 6th, 2016.
Carlsbad voters had already rejected regional shopping on the Agua Hedionda and the election results should be upheld.
After deliberation among the California Coastal Commission staff and further clarification from the residents, the Coastal Commission agreed with Schumacher’s team. The CCC advised a comprehensive analysis of V/C land use in Carlsbad’s Coastal Zone, and they denied the land use change to V/C on both the Encina Parcel and the South Shore.
“Yesterday, through a concerted effort, we were able to show the power of an engaged community,” said Schumacher, “We thank Commissioner Olga Diaz, and the California Coastal Commission, for their incisive questioning and willingness to listen to and respect the will of the residents of Carlsbad.” The residents who spoke at the meeting were grateful that the Coastal Commission heard their factual arguments, and they could be seen wiping away tears, while laughing and hugging outside chambers.
Schumacher is running for Carlsbad City Council in the November election, on the platform of transparency in government, responsbile land use, and sustainability. Her campaign is also running on “getting things done now” rather than talking about what she’ll do once in office. “I want Carlsbad to be a better place by me running for office.” explained Schumacher. We think she’s off to a great start.
Paid for by Cori Schumacher for Carlsbad City Council 2016