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Carlsbad council looks to future goals
The Carlsbad Community Vision identifies the city's focus areas and priorities over the next five years. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad City Council looks at future goals

CARLSBAD — Over the next six months, the Carlsbad City Council will sharpen and finalize the Carlsbad Community Vision, a series of guideposts to help map the city’s direction for the coming half-decade.

The council settled on five areas of focus during its Dec. 13 meeting to include economic vitality, sustainability and the environment, community character, quality of life and safety and fiscal health for the city. Also, the plan will include short- and long-term goals for the city paired with the top priorities from residents.

The plan also includes specific metrics and data for staff to track and report to residents. The city plans on conducting more public outreach in early 2022.

“What does success really look like as we look out five years?” asked Sommer Kehrli, of The Centre for Organization Effectiveness. “Most of the conversations we’ve had to date have had a one- to two-year timeframe. When we look out five years, even potentially longer than that … what needs to happen in the next five years to get on that path.”

As for specific goals, the council continued with several from 2021 including growth management, homelessness, public safety, a new City Hall site, Village and Barrio improvements, coastal vision and railroad trenching, to name a few.

The city has already moved forward on several of those goals, such as growth management, homelessness, public safety and the Village and Barrio. Others will be addressed in 2022, including City Hall, the coastal vision with potential movement on trenching, economic development and the environment.

Trenching, meanwhile, has spurred debate in recent weeks from residents online. Many have pointed to a city survey ranking trenching as the lowest priority amongst survey participants.

However, trenching appears to be not just a priority for the council, which has been discussing the issue since at least 2006, but also the San Diego Association of Governments.

In its recently approved regional transportation plan, SANDAG calls for massive investments in transit, which includes trenching the tracks in the Village and neighboring Leucadia to allow for high-speed rail and increased train traffic.

Ray Major, chief economist for SANDAG, said in a Dec. 9 interview the Carlsbad trench is part of the plan, while Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) is lobbying for money from the recently passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help fund the Carlsbad trench and other projects.

The council also gave thoughts on short- and long-term potential ideas and changes coming through advances in technology.

Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel said a public-private partnership to create a public trolley along the coast is in line with climate, economic and regional goals. Bhat-Patel said it is something the city can roll out quickly while saying removing barriers to conduct business in the city is a priority as well.

“We do have a transportation plan for our region, but that will take a while to get done,” Bhat-Patel said. “We can work with our tourism industry on a public-private partnership.”

Councilwoman Teresa Acosta said connecting to other cities should be a priority as well.

Councilman Peder Norby said his focus is on a strong Village and Barrio, noting the healthier a downtown makes for a stronger city. Additionally, he said when it comes to setting plans or looking at changes, the city should look to consult non-profits and try an avoid expensive consultants.

Councilman Keith Blackburn said the local economy is a top priority, noting the city should strengthen its relationship with dealerships at Car Country. Mayor Matt Hall added it is likely the automotive industry will see massive changes in the next 10 to 15 years as electric and autonomous vehicles become the norm.

“Look at the automotive industry and it will look drastically different,” Hall said. “With autonomous vehicles, I doubt we have the revenue from Car Country in 15 years that we do today.”