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The Carlsbad City Council approved 95 residential units at La Costa Town Square during its March 9 meeting. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad approves 95 housing units at La Costa Town Square

CARLSBAD — A new 95-unit residential development in La Costa was approved by the Carlsbad City Council during its March 9 meeting.

The development is located behind the Vons just east of the Rancho Santa Fe and La Costa Avenue intersection. Terramar Retail Centers, LLC will subdivide the 7.2-acre parcel into two lots for multi-family residential condominium units, according to Jason Goff, a senior planner with the City of Carlsbad.

A total of 18 three-story buildings are proposed as the development includes 76 market-rate townhome condominiums and 19 affordable units. The total of 19 onsite affordable units meets the minimum 20% inclusionary housing requirement for the site, Goff said.

“I think it’s a good project and would rather see housing to help our RHNA numbers,” Councilman Keith Blackburn said of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which mandates the number of units each municipality must build in a cycle. “I always love when we put housing within walking distance of services.”

The units range in size from 563-square feet to 1,603-square feet for the project adjacent to the La Costa Town Square development. La Costa Town Square spans 83 acres and includes a 284,000-square foot shopping center along with 64 detached single-family and 128 multiple-family units.

A 55,000-square foot office development was originally planned for the site, but those plans fell through and now the developer was granted an amendment to the La Costa Master Plan.

Due to the office space being scrapped, no analysis of vehicle miles traveled was conducted under the California Environmental Quality Act, as Goff stated it was not required because the project results in a decrease in traffic compared to the original proposal.

Goff said the new project will have a 31% reduction in traffic than the proposed office development. Additionally, morning and evening peak hour trips are projected to be reduced by 60% and 47%, respectively, he added.

Also, Byron de Arakal of TRC LLC said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had to readjust its plans for commercial space. He said the company pivoted to housing as office demand is projected to drop, while the state is being aggressive in building housing to address the affordability and inventory crises.

“Many observers of the commercial office market are predicting a fundamental reordering of that sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” de Arakal explained. “It is likely to shrink overall demand for office space. It is now quite clear that the governor, state legislature and Department of Housing and Community of Development are serious about correcting California’s housing supply deficit.”

The new residential development will be accessed at the intersection of La Costa Avenue and Calle Timiteo.