Council wants redesign of in-fill project

CARLSBAD — Following two weeks of deliberation, City Council members unanimously voted Jan. 25 to deny an appeal filed against the proposed El Fuerte View in-fill development.
Council members stipulated in their votes that while they denied resident Bob Lattin’s appeal, they would like to see redesign work on the in-fill project — one slated for development between two existing neighborhoods — before it can move forward.
“This is a very difficult, very constrained piece of property,” Mayor Matt Hall said. “Whatever the outcome is, not everyone in here is going to be happy. Everyone is going to have to give some to have some sort of compromise.”
The 4-acre project currently includes plots for seven homes, each with its own driveway exiting on El Fuerte Street. Council recommended eliminating two homes and creating one driveway to serve as the access point to road, which has blind spots, Councilwoman Farrah Douglas said.
Council members initially considered the project at their Jan. 11 meeting but delayed the vote to reflect on more than two hours of comments from city staff, project developers and residents.
“It’s often that when we have in-fill projects, we receive a lot of interest, a lot of comment and a lot of input,” Hall said. “Very seldom do they get raised to this level.”
In other news, local realtor and Carlsbad Village Association member Gary Nessim presented a downtown redevelopment project proposal, aptly titled, The Grand Promenade.
Nessim’s proposed design stretches along Grand Avenue from I-5 to Carlsbad Boulevard and includes larger sidewalks, designated bike lanes and roundabouts at intersections. Auto lanes would be reduced to just one in each direction.
“It will ensure that Village traffic moves at today’s desired speeds within a pedestrian-oriented Village,” he said. It would change the “current auto-dominated thoroughfare into a Village artery.”
The Grand Promenade project also includes a new Civic Center, outdoor amphitheater, multi-level parking structures and community gardens, linking City Hall with Ocean Street using pedestrian walkways.
Nessim estimated the Grand Promenade’s cost at $4 million for construction from Jefferson Street to Ocean Street. An additional $4 million to $5 million would be needed to complete the entire project.
He recommended council designate the funds in Carlsbad’s Capital Improvement Budget, as well as form a Carlsbad Village planning and study group in an effort to revitalize the downtown area.
“There is always room for improvement and I truly believe the ideas expressed in Mr. Nessim’s presentation would do just that,” project supporter and Carlsbad resident Bob Wilkinson said. “I think it’s very important for any community to have a place of focus.”
While council took no action on the project, Councilwoman Ann Kulchin did note that Nessim’s proposal was “very ambitious.”

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