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Carlsbad activist Cori Schumacher, center, speaking at City Council meeting last year, unveils an alternative plan on her website for the use of the proposed luxury mall on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon north of Cannon Road. File photo by Steve Puterski
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Alternative plan to 85/15 emerges from Carlsbad activist

CARLSBAD — An alternate plan.

It’s the latest development for opponents of the controversial Measure A. Although the plan has taken time to develop, 10-year Carlsbad resident Cori Schumacher delivered her proposal on Jan. 23.

On her website, the activist and one of several public voices against the measure, details an alternative to the proposed luxury mall and entertainment hub by Caruso Affiliated on about 26 acres of land on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

In total, Caruso Affiliated’s plan is to develop about 26 acres currently zoned for commercial use and dedicate the remaining 177 acres for open space.

Schumacher, who is not affiliated with the opposition group Citizens for North County, calls for a Land Trust in perpetuity for residents of Carlsbad.

“One of the questions that proponents have stated over and over was there is no alternative plan,” she said. “I wanted to put an idea forward that was sustainable financially as well as environmentally. That is what prompted me.”

Schumacher said it took months of research after public reports were released to counter the measure.

Although the release of her plan came one month prior to the Feb. 23 special election, she said it gives undecided voters another path to consider instead of retail-based option.

“The election is all or nothing for Caruso,” Schumacher said. “The point is there is room for alternatives on the other side of the no vote. The timing of it has everything to do with the fact I took time to research as much as possible, which was not available until the initiative was made public.”

Schumacher’s idea calls for using the Transient Occupancy Tax, which is 10 percent, and money earmarked by the city from Proposition C to purchase the land from San Diego Gas & Electric.

Currently, Caruso Affiliated has a purchase agreement with SDG&E for the land, although the purchase price has been redacted from the Public Utilities Commission application.

Nevertheless, Schumacher says the ideas are limitless and could include a museum, space for farmers markets, a solar panel field or windmills, which she said will fit with San Diego County’s plan to use 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

In addition, organic farming is another option along with adding hiking trails and creating the Agua Hedionda Conservancy.

“As far as zoning and land use goes … there are two parcels being squished into one,” Schumacher said. “With a commercial property and the idea the open space can be assisted or aided by it, the idea is Carlsbad would purchase it from SDG&E. There’s about $5 million set aside already for Proposition C that is dedicated for open space and trails. That money could be used to create the trails that Carlsbad wants to see.”

Although her proposal has come out just weeks before the election, she said it addresses concerns about an alternative plan.

Schumacher said she invites supporters and opponents of Measure A to collaborate to find a suitable option for the land. By using their collective “imagination,” she said, the area can become a bright spot for the city generating tourism and “well paid careers” instead of “low paying jobs.”

To read Schumacher’s proposal, visit


Karen February 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

I pray everyday that proposition A doesn’t pass. I do not walk to walk outside my front door and have to look at the backside of this strip enter or parking garage. I think the alternative plan is by far the better choice and just hope it didn’t come too late. Carlsbad residents please don’t believe everything you hear and do your homework. If you do the proper research you will clearly see the you need to vote NO. Let Caruso put him money into the Westfield Mall, there are acres there that can be turned into an incredible mall that people will want to visit.

Jim Veltman February 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

So let’s summarize, again:
Vote YES – gives the approval to build a shopping mall with plans that no one has seen, which is nearly twice the density as any other mall in Carlsbad. The mall and its Developer do not have to go through the regular planning and environmental standards that every other development has had to go through. The 5 Freeway is already gridlocked, but I do not care if another 24,000 vehicle trips per day that are projected by the Developer’s own plan are added because he said traffic control will be better. We get trails to use, but we will probably have to wait in traffic to get to them, and pay for parking when we do. Oh yeah, the Developer is exempt from existing general plan, zoning, grading, height and other regulations for 15 years (even if the development creates unforeseen problems), but that is okay because even though he stands to make millions of dollars on this deal, I trust him.

Vote NO – prevent a LA Developer from pushing through a out sized mall on a sensitive location without the usual environmental and building plan review. Telling other developers that this type of multi million dollar ad campaign will not work to make an end run around rules and regulations that have served our city quite well in the past. I am sick of planning my life around traffic and do not want to have deal with it getting worse so someone can make a ton of money. We have done quite well without developing the land and I would rather let it sit right now, than make a big mistake.
I value the quality of life I have in Carlsbad and wish that the Carlsbad City government we have would do the same.

mmm, let ME think? DUH, VOTE NO on Proposition A.

Mike Bergstraesser February 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

I, like so many others, feel that I was purposely misled on the Prop A signature campaign. Not once, but twice.

In all business proposals there are economic and social tradeoffs that are challenging to quantify and can actually distract from more serious issues that need to be addressed.

In this case, it is the flagrant lack of integrity on the part of the developer.

There are many great quotes on the importance of integrity in business and everyday life but on Prop A, I think Larry Hagman (remember J.R.Ewing on Dallas) nailed it:

“Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.”

Vote NO on A and let us regroup as a Community on what, if anything, we do with this valuable resource.

Brian McInerny February 4, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Apparently someone thinks that it would be possible build in the SDG&E powerline easement. This covers a major portion of the 21 acres that Caruso proposes to dedicate as open space. So why do some people say that he could develop it all? That does not make a very believable argument. I see some people actually think that if you say traffic will get better it will. Well you are entitled to believe anything you want this is America and I respect that.

Laura Drelleshak February 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

I volunteer to help Cori’s plan happen, time and money. If we get the chance.

Tom Applegate February 4, 2016 at 10:28 am

So let’s summarize:
Vote NO – Fields of solar panels, windmills and organic squash paid for by earmarking TOT, depleting reserves and years of fundraising.
Vote YES – Classic designed retail location (on half the space approved) generating sales and property tax revenues for the City of Carlsbad. Gathering spaces for the community, improved traffic flow, public access by trails, vista points and more – paid for and supported by visitors, shoppers and tenants.
mmm, let me think? . . . OK, Vote YES on Proposition A.

Brian McInerny February 4, 2016 at 9:42 am

Well someone knows that half the city wants the mall. I appreciate Cori’s efforts to present an alternative. The selling of Caruso’s plan via the “Citizens” Initiative was a huge mistake on the proponents part. If you want people to listen to your ideas it is best to be honest in your approach. I was approached at my house by a non-citizen paid signature gatherer and told a bald faced lie paid for by Caruso affiliated and supported unanimously by our mayor and city council. I talked with a hundred citizens who were told the same lie by people paid by Caruso affiliated. The lie was that by signing the citizens would have a chance to express their view by voting. I do not appreciate liars and I do not trust their sponsors.

Jan Bandich February 4, 2016 at 9:30 am

Thanks, Cori, for looking at positive alternatives that will allow all the residents of Carlsbad to enjoy this precious resource rather than a mega-mall that will bring hordes of people only interested in shopping. Carlsbad residents have been witing since Prop D in 2006 to enjoy this Open Space and $5 million has been budgeted to open it. Let’s serve the citizens of Carlsbad, not an L.A. developer, who is only doing what developers do. Time for the City Council to serve the citizens, not outside interests. With hearts and minds together the people of Carlsbad can plan a community gathering place in harmony with the surroundings and leave a true heritage for their children and the people of Carlsbad.

Grant Smith February 4, 2016 at 8:22 am

So let’s take taxpayer money and redirect it from what it’s being used for now to purchase private land that we don’t know what the purchase price is going to be. Then we build more structures with taxpayer dollars with no payback from sales tax or property tax dollars from those structures. Who will finance and build the solar panels and windmills?
Half the city wants the mall. To use tax dollars to purchase private land for something half the cities residents don’t want seems to be an over reach. Besides what happen to private land owners doing what they want with their land as long as it is zoned for it?

Rich Breyer February 4, 2016 at 8:03 am

Thanks Cori for your hard work. I see Carlsbad beginning to awaken. As I talk with people they are tired of the deception that is being thrust a pond them. Working together the citizens of Carlsbad can make our town great again. Google Albany CA and their simular plight with the Mega Mall developer. It is exactly the same David and Goliath story that we in Carlsbad are facing. Albany citizens rose up a fought off Caruso’s Mega Mall attempt. We can do this too. Please read the 397 page document. You can word search for different words like “hieghts” and “exempt” and “15 years”.

By saying No on A is the first step in taking our city back. We can do better than this Mega Mall. Please vote No on A.

Richard February 4, 2016 at 6:16 am

Time for the city council to drop the claim Caruso’s mall is the best possible use of the 203 acres.

Tee Dēē Bee February 4, 2016 at 6:13 am

What a wonderful plan! One that can reunite all of Carlsbad. The damage Caruso has done in dividing our community IS reversible. Thank you Cori for investing so much time into creating this excellent alternative.

Riveron February 4, 2016 at 2:51 am

The T-O-T is the easiest target, and the least accessible because everybody wants to have a crack at it. Too late to the party, too disorganized. The property is too valuable to put solar fields or windmills. She is clearly a novice at best possible use for land. I do think the purchase price should be revealed by now, I’m surprised a journalist hasn’t pulled it up yet. It’s not illegal but it does seem a bit shady with all the hub bub going on about the land. I don’t see any way the project will not go through, maybe the mall square feet will be reduced, but it will go through. I’m looking forward to the trails, but I don’t shop at malls, nor frequent them.

Casi T February 4, 2016 at 12:36 am

Kudos to Cori’s leadership & ingenuity (and BTW, an awesome surfer, 3 x womens world longboard champion).

Her proposal gives us options and room to work together as a community, something Cori always speaks to.

Let’s do this Carlsbad. Vote No on Measure A, let’s connect Carlsbad’s bike trails the way they were meant to be connected on the Hub Lease, keep Terramar parking for Terramar residents & their guests, the options are endless once we follow Cori’s lead and work together.

Don Burton February 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm

Vote No and give the residents of Carlsbad control over the land that should be ours. If someone wants to develop the commercially zoned parcel, then do it the “right way” instead of ramming it down our throats with a phony bait and switch full of lies that no one believes. This was NEVER about strawberry fields OR open space. It’s all about Caruso trying to take over this town and he thought he could buy us. He succeeded, but only PARTIALLY. Kudos to people like Cori who are able to think outside the “mall” and see the big picture that would benefit ALL of Carlsbad, not just the monied, connected, influential people who think they know what is best and think they run the whole town. Vote NO so that we will have a chance to take the time to do this the “right way”. Caruso was never about doing things the “right way”; he was all about doing things HIS way (or the highway, presumably). Well, the freeway points north back to LA. After February 23, I suggest he use it and anyone who cares to can join him.

M Simons February 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

So the take away for this article is vote NO.

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