CARLSBAD — All members were present and council chambers were full when City Council returned after a monthlong recess Sept. 15.
Council was presented with new proposals to the ever-changing plans for the desalination plant at the Encina Power Station. As the construction phase draws near, Poseidon Resources has noticed areas for improvement that will change the building orientation and move pipelines, but maintain most physical aspects of the original plan.
Although the council approved the new amendments, Marco Gonzalez from Coast Law Group representing San Diego Coastkeeper and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, challenged their willingness to do so without new environmental impact reports and in-depth reviews of the new proposals. The proposed changes in pipelines will be in areas that have not been reviewed from an environmental standpoint and will also severely interrupt traffic during the construction time.
“We’ll have to see you in court again,” Gonzalez said.
The council addressed another big issue that Carlsbad citizens have voiced their concerns about since its inception –— the La Costa Town Square development.
The project has been presented before the council several times and residents have been worried about the high density of the location, the possibility of a “big box” chain moving in and the residential units proposed for the site.
“We got e-mails saying we approved big box stores, but this prevents a Wal-Mart from moving into this location, right?” Councilman Keith Blackburn, clarifying it for those in attendance.
City attorney Ronald Ball assured the council and audience that the new provisions have explicitly prohibited any large corporate chains from moving into the La Costa Town Square development. The new amendment will not allow stores with more than 30,000 items in stock to move into the area.
The council also approved a Social Host Ordinance that will make adults responsible and subject to criminal charges for providing alcohol to minors at house parties. Carlsbad will join other cities in the county and state that already have similar ordinances in place to help lessen the impact of underage drinking on their communities.
“It’s not a complete answer to underage drinking, but it’s a tool,” said Judy Strang, executive director of the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth.
In the interest of Carlsbad citizens, the council voted to increase liability to $1 million for the city’s taxicabs. Currently, taxi companies are only required to pay premiums for $300,000 in total liability while neighboring cities require liability coverage of $1 million. Monthly premiums for cab companies will increase $50 to $80 a month to provide the newly approved liability coverage.
“If $600 a year puts a cab company out of business, our community deserves better,” Councilman Mark Packard said.
City Council meetings are held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive. View the meetings from home and tune in live online at www.carlsbadca.gov or on Time Warner channel 24.