Plan to redevelop nears end of road

CARLSBAD — Discussion of downtown village development and redevelopment was one of many topics discussed by City Council at a recent workshop.
Plans for a mixed-use development of housing and commercial units, on the old Bauer Lumber property which now houses the New Village Arts Theater, took center stage during the Feb. 24 workshop held at the Safety Center on Orion Way.
The future of the New Village Arts Theater, which opened in that location in 2007, has not been determined, as plans for the new development have not been worked out.
The North County Transit District train station will also soon be renovated, although it is not part of the mixed-use development. Changes to improve parking in the area will also be made.
City Council has been reviewing a series of development projects for the village area since 2007, when new guidelines and updates to the master plan were adopted.
The Village Area Redevelopment Plan was adopted by City Council in 1981 to give guidelines for the redevelopment of the downtown village area, and a way to pay for the improvements by property tax increments.
That document is now considered “outdated,” and is set to expire in early July.
The city-appointed Design Review Board, put in place to help guide the old plan, will also no longer be needed.
The master plan for the village, officially adopted in 1996 and updated in 2007, will continue to provide guidelines for future development and redevelopment in the village area, Assistant Planner Austin Silva said.
According to Silva, the process to update the master plan is now under way.
“We are beginning the process to make changes to the language and remove references to the Village Area Redevelopment Plan in the master plan at this time,” Silva said.
The revised master plan, adopted in 2007, lifted restrictions on building heights and the number of dwelling units per acre, allowing for more mixed-use developments in the village area and nearby Barrio neighborhood.
An effort to revitalize the Barrio by capitalizing on the historic past of the once predominately Spanish-speaking neighborhood by retaining its character and encouraging Spanish-style architecture for future development, was lost in a vote 10 years ago. Many property owners in the Barrio, who often lived outside the city, felt the limitations needed to retain the community character were restrictive and took up their own effort to defeat the former revitalization effort.
Although the guidelines for the village and Barrio neighborhood that the council adopted in 2007 have been controversial, city officials reminded merchants and residents that the village area is better off now than it was before a redevelopment plan was ever put into place.

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