The Encina Parcel, Land Use and Fighting for the Community

On May 11th of this year, just months after our vote on Measure A, the City of Carlsbad submitted a Local Coastal Program amendment application for some General Plan updates. 

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The updates were submitted to the California Coastal Commission whose staff were told by the City that there were no substantive changes being included in a new land use designation forwarded by the City: Visitor Commercial. 

During my research, I found that the City had made substantive changes to the new zoning designation, which subsequently changes the uses allowed to permit residential within the Visitor Commercial Land Use designation. The City was asked to pull this substantive change by the Coastal Commission from their application after a letter writing campaign I initiated. 

 

In addition, the City was attempting to make changes to the 48 acres residents had just voted on February 23rd and the Encina Power Plant parcel just to the West. 

Our team uncovered an internal memo from the City that once again proved that the City had planned to expand the uses allowed on the 48 acres adjacent to the freeway, contrary to the will of the voters on February 23rd. The changes suggested by the City would have effectively given us the same outcome on the 48 acres as a "Yes" vote on Measure A would have, which was at base, a land use and zoning plan. 

Many candidates in this election have been referencing the future of the Encina Power Plant parcel and how we need community input as we move forward, but I have been actively working to ensure the community has a say on this property from the very first changes to the land use the City is attempting. I strongly support our Charter when it says that the voters, as well as the Council, should be exercising the maximum degree of control over land use matters in Carlsbad. This portion of our Charter needs to be codified in our municipal code to ensure Carlsbad voters have this right, with the stipulation that we will follow State mandates so that we do not avail ourselves to litigation. As stated elsewhere, should State or even Federal mandates conflict (e.g. Palomar Airport expansion, which the voters have the right to vote on per ordinance 21.53.015), it is the Council Members' duty to fight on behalf of the taxpayers in Carlsbad.

To that end, I spearheaded a team to speak before the Coastal Commission on May 11th, as the City attempted to initiate a land use change on the Encina Power Plant property from its current use, Utilities, to Visitor Commercial/Open Space. At the May 11th hearing, Carlsbad City Staff promised that the residents would have input on the Encina Power Plant parcel, but there were no specifics given about how much Open Space to Visitor Commercial and there would be, and to my knowledge, the graphic below, which shows just how much Visitor Commercial (red) to Open Space (green) the City has planned, was not provided to the Coastal Commission by City Staff. 

Have you seen this plan? Have we voted on this plan? 

Token Open Space (we are rapidly losing our 40% open space community goal), a lackluster record of respecting the will of the voters (including the fact that Carlsbad voters should have been able to vote on the addition of the terminal at the Palomar Airport), attempting to push through substantive changes that would expand uses allowable under the noses of regulatory agencies, and backroom dealings with real estate interests and developers... 

It's time to put a stop to it. 

On May 11th, I, along with a group of folks from Carlsbad, successfully lobbied the Coastal Commission to prevent changes to land use on the Agua Hedionda Segment, from the Encina Power Plant to the 48 acres East of the freeway. Our community needs to be MEANINGFULLY engaged in land use decisions FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. 

I'm working for you, Carlsbad.

-Cori


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