Carlsbad City Council approves zoning changes for housing

CARLSBAD — In order to develop “a variety of housing” for all income ranges, City Council recently agreed on some new Housing Element Program amendments. 

Although the city’s Housing Element consists of many programs, the recent ones voted on included areas such as farm worker housing, emergency shelters, and transitional and supportive housing.

“The City Council’s action unanimously approved changes to the city’s Zoning Ordinance, Local Coastal Program and Village Master Plan and Design Manual to provide for the housing types,” said Scott Donnell, senior planner at the city of Carlsbad. “The approved changes identify the housing types as either permitted or conditionally permitted uses and include development standards.”

Donnell said state law does not require cities to construct the housing but instead provides appropriate areas and standards within the city to enable developers to provide the housing.

In regard to farm labor housing, staff pointed out to City Council that state law defines farm worker housing in a couple forms. One consists of 36 beds in group quarters or a total of 12 “units or spaces” designated to a single family or household.

“‘Units’ could include individual houses, and ‘spaces,’ could include RVs or trailers,” Donnell said. “No conditional use permit, zoning variance, or other zoning clearance shall be required of this employee housing that is not required of any other agricultural activity in the same zone; in other words, farm worker housing has to be treated the same as any other agricultural use.”

On the flipside, the amendment also confirmed the definition of a large farm worker housing complex. This description is housing for more than 12 “units or spaces” or more than 36 workers in group quarters.

Staff reminded the council that it currently has one large farm worker housing facility, La Posada de Guadalupe on Impala Drive.

These types of facilities, requiring an Industrial “M” Zone, are issued as a conditional use permit upon the discretion of City Council.

With the exception of La Posada de Guadalupe, staff said, it is not aware of any other farm labor housing in the city.

During the course of the presentation, emergency shelters were also touched upon.

“Shelters would not be constructed in response to an emergency but instead would be permanent structures built to serve the needs of the homeless year-round,” said Donnell, noting their location would predominately be near the airport.

Staff explained that this type of facility would house homeless persons or families on a limited basis. Generally, this term is six months or less.

“Typically, housing is provided in a group quarters, or dormitory-style accommodation,” Donnell said. He continued, “Any single emergency shelter will have no more than 30 beds and no more than 30 persons shall be served except as authorized by a conditional use permit approved by the City Council.”

Staff conveyed to City Council that there was no development or new construction as part of the Housing Element Program Implementation that evening. Instead, it was meant to identify zones and provide standards in the event of future development.

 

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