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Carlsbad City Hall
Attorneys claim Councilwoman Cori Schumacher's legal complaint was filed in her capacity as a city official and therefore the City of Carlsbad should be liable for any damages. Photo by Steve Puterski

Carlsbad City Council identifies community values to help achieve goals

CARLSBAD — Three high-level community values were prioritized by the Carlsbad City Council on Feb. 11 during its second goal-setting workshop.

This is the first time the council has addressed its values and goals since 2018.

Based on council agreement, the city’s values include maintaining a small-town beach community, supporting the local economy and promoting sustainability. The council will reconvene on Feb. 18 for the final workshop to further discuss and identify individual goals to support the city’s top values.

Additionally, top-line principles reflected in all aspects of the city include technology infrastructure, diversity, equity and inclusion, and meaningful and early public engagement.

“Technology is the tool that is going to lead us into the future. The need for technology and it needs to be part of the priority of goals,” Mayor Matt Hall said.

Regarding goals for maintaining a “small-town beach feel,” the council focused on the Growth Management Plan, homelessness, Village and Barrio Master Plan reform, health and safety of neighborhoods, adequate housing supply and infrastructure and public safety.

For the economy, city leaders will continue COVID-19 recovery, revitalizing the business sector and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

Finally, sustainability will include issues such as an ethics ordinance, bluff and beach erosion, the Clean Energy Alliance, greenhouse gas reduction, a comprehensive coastal plan, environmental and community security, promoting sustainability and natural resources, parks and a mobility plan.

“I think being able to really, clearly articulate what our goal for each of these particular core values as our overarching one would be with regards to policy,” Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel said.

The council will finalize a specific list of goals on Feb. 18.

During the last goal-setting meeting in 2018, the council focused on plans for a new city hall and civic center, trenching the railroad tracks in Carlsbad Village and Barrio neighborhoods, and completing the new Village and Barrio Master Plan.

Jason Haber, the city’s intergovernmental affairs director, provided an update on these previous goals, plus others, and how they’re tracking.

The city is engaging California State Parks for a long-term agreement in maintaining state beaches, operations, programming and land-use planning. However, the process takes time, Haber said.

The council amended the municipal code to establish a Traffic Safety Commission, which was completed in August 2019.

According to Haber, site selection for a new civic center is ongoing, although staff will present some options later this year. To date, approximately $350,000 has been spent on the project, Haber said.

Another big goal for the city is to start trenching the railroad tracks by 2023. Due to the pandemic and other financial hurdles, state and federal funding sources have dried up, but receive fresh attention from a new presidential administration, Haber said.

The San Diego Association of Governments completed an economic analysis in January 2017, revealing two trenching options as expensive upfront, but bringing long-term safety and economic benefits. The short trench cost is estimated at $250 million and the long trench at $360 million, Haber added.