City supports continuance of agriculture committee

CARLSBAD — City Council voted to approve the allocation of grant awards to seven projects submitted to the city’s agricultural committee, as well as renew the terms of six of seven committee members at the July 28 council meeting.
The Agricultural Conversion Mitigation Fee Ad Hoc Citizen’s Advisory Committee took over the responsibility in 2005 from the state of making sure money developers pay for the mitigation of turning farmland into homes and commercial development gets put to good use.
In order to be considered, the projects must meet certain criteria and preferably fall into certain categories, such as improvements to agricultural land or farm worker housing; restoration of the beaches, lagoons or other coastal areas; and construction of lagoon nature centers.
So far, more than $6.5 million has been distributed by the committee.
“Staff currently anticipates that there will be between $1 million and $1.5 million deposited into funds once all agricultural land is developed,” said Kevin Pointer, an associate planner for the city.
Pointer told the council that much of the funds have come from commercial development along Paseo de Norte, just north of Palomar Airport Road, across from the Flower Fields.
Once water was brought into Carlsbad in the early 1900s, the city flourished as an agricultural community. But over the past few decades, the avocado groves and flower fields have slowly disappeared.
Members of the committee said they are committed to the preservation of agriculture land, and projects that enhance the community.
A boardwalk along Buena Vista Lagoon, a cymbidium orchid-growing proposal and the controversial farm worker housing project have all received funding.
The seven new projects include the restoration of coastal bluffs at Carlsbad and Tamarack State beaches, the creation of a new access point for the Flower Fields, and improvements to equipment at the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute.
At the same meeting the council agreed to renew the four-year term of the six committee members and to replace one member who stepped down. The city is currently looking for a replacement for Irv Roston.
“I would like to acknowledge the committee’s dedication over the years,” Pointer told the council.

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