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The Carlsbad Village Center is a four-story, mixed-use development proposal for the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad Village project to return to council after tie vote

CARLSBAD — In a twist, the City Council ended in a 2-2 tie vote over the controversial Carlsbad Village Center proposal.

Councilman Keith Blackburn, the swing vote, chose to vote against during the Feb. 13 meeting, saying he did not like the look and feel of the project at the northwest corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive when driving west to east from the beach. As a result, the item has 60 days to be placed back on the agenda or it dies.

Mayor Matt Hall, meanwhile, recused himself noting his wife owns property in the noticed area. Councilwoman Cori Schumacher voted against the project and does not support it, while Councilmen Michael Schumacher (no relation) and Mark Packard are in favor citing the vitality of the Village and the property owner’s right to monetize his land.

However, Blackburn said he would support the project if the developer and owner, Leor Lakritz, came back with a more inviting look, although Blackburn struggled to specify what he meant.

The item is tentatively scheduled to go back before the council on March 27.

“I am very protective of the Village,” Blackburn said. “If you are driving west to east, you’re almost blocked from being welcomed into the State Street area.”

Currently, the site houses Choice Juicery and seating and lounging area for customers and pedestrians. However, the council did approve Lakritz’s application to add two more containers on the parcel to increase revenue.

If the council approves the proposal, the containers would be removed and in their place a 25,631-square-foot, four story, 45-foot-tall mixed-use building with a 12-space subterranean parking garage would be constructed with one additional handicapped space at ground level.

The application also seeks the parking-in-lieu agreement, which totals $11,240 for each of the 17 commercial spaces to satisfy the requirements of the Village Master Plan. The site calls for 30 spaces.

A letter submitted to the city from the Village Faire shopping center west of the site across the train tracks strongly objected to the project. The owners of the center, along with 18 other business owners, signed the letter and said the parking-in-lieu would put additional stress on the Village Faire’s lot and create more traffic.

In addition, opponents also lamented against the height, which is 16 feet taller than the building next door and 25 feet higher than on the east side of State Street.

“If you compare (to other buildings) … it’s not compatible,” resident Scott Engel said. “Density is used as the ace in the hole. We need to compromise. It would be a lot better for the community.”

During the City Council meeting, many residents railed against the project saying it did not compliment the Village, it was significantly taller than the other buildings on State Street and would add parking and traffic problems in the area.

One woman, though, questioned why the project would be denied if the developer meets and exceeds the standards set forth in the Village Master Plan. She questioned the logic of recruiting development, meeting standards only to deny a project because some disagree.

“We have to be very careful the attitude we are putting forth,” resident Laurie Boone said. “It takes so much to get a project approved in Carlsbad because we have high standards. If they meet or exceed them … how can we have integrity and say no?”

As for short-term rentals, the City Council would allow the use. The Planning Commission adopted a resolution prohibiting the practice, but the council may reverse the decision since short-term vacation rentals are permitted in the coastal zone.


Brian McInerny February 28, 2018 at 4:23 pm

These under-parked four story buildings are definitely not in keeping with the character of good old downtown Carlsbad. Carlsbad has a few dollars in the bank. Does this mean it is well run or does it mean it has sold out to the highest bidder and forsaken the qualities that people love about Carlsbad? For 40 years Carlsbad hasn’t seen a development it didn’t like. Do we preserve what little charm the city has left? Or do we keep on building Robertson Ranches and Quarry creeks? Let’s get some better people in office and pay them better as well. It is not too late to change.

Douglas Taylor February 20, 2018 at 4:49 pm

This is a follow-up to my own post above where I was wondering “out loud” if one accessible space is enough for a building this size. I should have done some checking first (and I should have used the correct term which is “accessible space”). It looks like one accessible space may be enough since the ADA requirement is 1 van accessible space (11 ft. wide space, plus a 5 ft. wide lane beside the space) for a parking lot with 1 – 25 spaces. This building will have 13 parking spaces: 12 regular spaces in the underground lot entered via the car elevators and 1 accessible space at ground level just off the alley.

But here’s one thing I wonder about: I hope the city has consulted its legal counsel to ensure that “parking-in-lieu” spaces do not count toward the total of spaces used when making the calculation to determine how many accessible spaces are required. Carlsbad building code would normally require 30 spaces for this building and that would require that two of those spaces be accessible spaces (ADA requires 2 accessible spaces in lots with 26 – 50 total spaces). Another way of looking at this: The building has 13 actual spaces; alternatively, you might say it has 30 “virtual” spaces. The parking-in-lieu agreement is allowing one “virtual” accessible space to be dropped, leaving one actual accessible space. The city has very likely already confirmed that performing the calculation in this way is OK — I’m bringing the issue up “just in case” and in the spirit of avoiding possible fines or lawsuits.

Kristine – Thank you for the tip on finding more information.

Lowell February 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Give it up. We get your point. You’re uneducated and therefore support Hall. Your posts speak volumes. Clearly you have no interest in understanding why many people support Cori. See you at the polls in November. Remember you can only vote once. This isn’t Russia.

Kristine Wright February 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm

@Douglass Taylor, please see the City Planner, Shannon Harker to see more detailed drawings. She can be contacted at [email protected]

@Jon, if you were to listen to the research that Cori has done at each of the Council meetings, you would have to agree that she is much more informed than any of the other council members. I have worked with her personally on various community projects and she already has done much for our community. She is advocating for another Design Review “type” board in order to establish continuity within our Barrio and Village. Also concerning your comment about Mayor Hall’s experience, I have found that many politicians get comfortable in their positions and it depends on the individual as to how much they put into their position. I have yet to see what the current Mayor has done for Carlsbad despite all of those years in office. And he is trying to deny us a vote on the Airport expansion (Carlsbad ordinance 21.53.015) after personally speaking to him about this issue. I am also against this 4 story Village Center and I am proud of both Keith Blackburn and Cori Schumacher for voting “nay” on this project. I encourage you to subscribe to Cori’s newsletter; and you will find out about her experience and what she has done for this city.

@marva, people keep asking about Cori’s experience. Please subscribe to her newsletter and you will find out what she is doing and has already done for this city. Matt Hall has tried taking credit for the Growth Management Plan that was enacted WAY before he came into office. Our city is what it is because of the Growth Management Plan, not Mr. Hall.

Jon February 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

I agree with the opposition to the building. However, since the master plan is in effect I’m not sure it can be denied???? Mayor Hall is not part of this discussion as he has recused itself on this topic. As far as Cori and her experience I have to believe that Mayor Halls owning a business, serving the city, being on the city council for 16 years, Mayor for 7 years would certainly be stronger than surfing. Does she have any other experience in working???

Douglas Taylor February 20, 2018 at 4:20 am

To see an artist’s rendering of the building, search on “maa architects carlsbad village center” – then click on the three little dots at the bottom of the picture to see the two available views. Note the two steel doors in the alley. Those are for the “car elevetors” to take cars up and down from the underground parking garage. The fact that we’re considering a building in the Village that requires two car elevators should send up all kinds of red flags.

I assume that only tenants will have access to the underground parking since a code will probably be required to operate the car elevators. If that’s the case, then no parking is being made available for people who come to the offices and retail outlets. I guess that’s what the “parking-in-lieu” fee is for, but paying the city money doesn’t solve the parking problem. This building is 17 spaces short of what should be provided. Also, there is only one handicapped spot — does that really meet the code for a building this size?

I’m sure that cars will need to wait for the car elevator and if three or four cars show up at the same time to use the elevators, they will back up onto Carlsbad Village Drive, blocking traffic. Also, will cars be able to swing wide enough to enter the elevators? Or will they need to perform three-point turns to manuever in? — that would really snarl things up.

It appears that the footprint of this building will eliminate the 6 parking places that are in the alley at the west end of this lot. If so, has the loss of these places been taken into account when calculating how many parking spaces the developer “owes” to the Village? If we are losing 6 spaces and they are adding 13, then the net gain is only 7. With only 7 additional spaces, imagine the parking headaches this new building will cause.

Where will trucks load and unload that are servicing the building? In the alley? But that will block the doors to the car elevators and may also cause traffic to back up on the Drive if cars are trying to enter underground garage from the Drive. Currently if trucks stop for unloading in the alley, they are only blocking the cars they are next to, but when trucks stop for unloading in the alley behind this new building, they will be blocking the car elevators and, hence, all of the cars in the underground lot. Maybe these considerations have all been thoroughly thought through and prototyped — I sure hope so.

Does anyone know where we can find more information about this building? For example, a floor plan and how the building sits on the lot. I’d like to know how wide the alley will be once the building is completed. Thanks!

Dave February 19, 2018 at 6:27 pm

To Jon, vince, Marva and anyone else who wants to educate himself or herself:
Cori has a website and sends out a newsletter in which she explains why she voted the way she did. Cori takes the time to educate US (those of us who care) about issues of importance to Carlsbad. I suggest you sign up for her newsletter. Maybe after reading what she has to say, you might reconsider your opinion of her.

Don February 19, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Carlsbad is NOT a strong mayor city and the mayor does not RUN the city (though Hall certainly acts as if he is in charge). Cori’s experience has nothing to do with it. Her intelligence, integrity, transparency, honesty, and willingness to listen has everything to do with it. Hall ran a junkyard. How did that qualify him? Packard was a dentist. Their experience in office has only proven that they are connected to the Lincoln Club and other wealthy donors who control what goes on without people realizing it. I’ll take Cori over Hall any day and my bet is that so will many others. The city employees all of whom do an excellent job aren’t going anywhere so the city will still be well-run regardless of who the mayor is.

Scott Engel February 19, 2018 at 9:33 am

People come to Carlsbad because it’s not LA/Orange County. Carlsbad is our home, not a knock off economic opportunity for every swinging developer that breezes in off I-5. This isn’t the Mustang Ranch.
Our “high standards” in the master plan/s are maximum hard number specifications that should not apply to every square inch of the village if applied comprehensively. Thus you have design guidelines, which as Ms. Schumacher cited, provide that you don’t break up a façade.
Left unchecked, the game that the mayor, a couple of the boys on the council (one whose been there way too long) and their cronies on the Planning Commission are running, will kill the golden goose.

marva February 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

What experience and qualifications does Cori have to run a city???? Would really like to know.
Our city is in excellent financial position as most are not. Do not want to turn it to someone who has no experience. Carlsbad is one of the most desirable cities in San Diego coiunty right now.
It obviously has had good leadership.

Addie February 19, 2018 at 7:44 am

Addie here. Yes, I am DEFINITELY biased (and know how to spell). I’m biased in favor of honesty, transparency, and integrity and against corruption, lying, backroom deals and ILL-gotten gains. I’m also against politicians who do NOT do their work (ie read and understand important documents AND represent the interests of those whom they were elected to SERVE) and instead serve the interests of wealthy donors, developers, and those who orchestrate things behind the scenes. Whether one chooses the characterize such behavior as NEFARIOUS is a subjective decision; it’s certainly dishonest, opaque, and lacking in integrity. So I’m guilty as charged of being biased and will take my bias to the ballot box come November and will try to convince as many of my fellow Carlsbadians to do the same.

Lowell February 19, 2018 at 7:36 am

Just one question…did you graduate from high school?

Don February 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Thanks for being a voice of reason. I too live very near LCTS and spoke about it when we had the chance, not to oppose it, but to ask that it represent what the neighborhood wanted and needed. Those who mischaracterize Cori Schumacher and her supporters (of whom I proudly count myself one) as anti-development and anti-growth do so because it is simpler for them to believe the lies they want to spread rather than take the time to educate themselves. Although they are not Russians (I hope), they operate based on the same principles…lie often and lie loudly. Cori wants SMART growth that will benefit Carlsbad and its citizens, not unlimited, unchecked growth that only benefits the bank accounts of the developers. We’ve had enough of that already and certainly have had enough of the local politicians who support that agenda and fail to heed the voices of their constituents.

Douglas Taylor February 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I feel it would be so sad if this project is approved. The Village is a special place we can be proud of. This development will permanently change the character of the Village and push it closer to being just another strip mall. You would think that the council would have gotten the message about projects like this following their disasterous support of the “Lagoon Mall.” Despite massive amounts of advertising spent to promote it, it was soundly defeated by the people of Carlsbad. And, by the way, as with many other people who are against this particular project, we do not stand for “no growth” or “not in my backyard.” For example, I was very much in favor of the La Costa Town Square development and it is, indeed, nearly in my back yard. It made good use of undeveloped land and has become a welcome shopping center in the area. I’m also OK with the Bressi Ranch development. So please don’t think that people who oppose this project in the Village are a group of “nay-sayers.” We believe Carlsbad can grow and prosper without the need to trash the parts of the city we treasure.

Don February 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm

They’re TIME deaf as well since they don’t know what TIME it is. It’s time for Hall and Packard to start packing their bags and move out of City Hall! Get the Hall out of City Hall!

KIM TRUJILLO February 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

First Matt Hall was a smart Man when He bought properties in theVillage & ESP the Barrio area years ago ! Mr Hall & Mr Packard &Their Families have huge financial gain by developing……The more crammed in the$$$$$$ to be made ….Please Leave the Village Charm be !!!!!! Once that can of worms open IT’S TOO LATE …..Let the sunshine through !?✌?

Erik S. February 17, 2018 at 9:55 am

It’s time for Mayor Hall and council members Michael S. and Packard to go. I recall them two years ago attempting to subvert the will of us Carlsbad residents two years ago with their lagoon mega-mall debacle.

We The People, fortunately, overrode their cozying up to an LA developer by forcing a vote on the mega-mall. We sent the developer and his crew packing, and it’s time to do the same to Hall, Michael S., and Packard.

Good to see Blackburn, who was lockstep with Mayor Hall previously, having a change of heart regarding rampant Village development. There may be hope for him.

And outstanding to have Cori on our Council. I’m hoping she gets elected Mayor in November.

Belinda Rachman, Esq. February 17, 2018 at 8:47 am

I can’t believe how time deaf the majority of our city council is! WE DON’T WANT THIS!!!!! It is too tall! There are not enough parking places! Handing the city money instead of providing parking is NOT a solution! Every time these Bozos green light bad development they put a nail in their own political career! Cori for Mayor! Get all new council members so we can save our village!!!!!

Belinda Rachman, Esq. February 17, 2018 at 8:48 am

Tone deaf, not time deaf.

Dora February 17, 2018 at 8:01 am

I believe the commenter who is the Mayor’s apologist is the recently terminated manager of the pub across from the post office, who was quite nasty to patrons and to anyone who didn’t love the idea of a lagoon mall. I believe he was also appointed by his crony, the Mayor, to a Commission. Addie is right – the Mayor “appoints” (even though Planning Commission appointments are supposed to be discussed amongst council, the mayor sent out a memo announcing his “appointment“ the last time a commission position came up), his. cronies and buddies to the commissions, especially planning, recently appointing a very unqualified person over several much more qualified candidates, since he knows she will blindly rubberstamp any projects put before her. Her main concern at commission meetings is that she is tired and wants to go home. And don’t feel sorry for the mayor, he has benefited greatly from his political position. As one local resident put it, he looks for every opportunity to “feather his nest”.

Vince February 17, 2018 at 7:54 am

It seems that Addie You defiantly have a bias . I have looked at the disclosure documents ( FFPC 152544822-16797908) and I do not see any evidence of nafarious I’ll gotten wealth as you say Mr Hall has gained . I see a politician doing a job . I think your vindictive statement about Jon being a financial supporter is a very poor way of communicating . I say you point your finger at Jon but 4 fingers point back to you .

Kristine Wright February 17, 2018 at 7:42 am

Our mayor should not be in office just to supplement his income.. I found that Cori Schumacher has worked 24/7 and is Very Well Prepared at each council meeting, researching on her own the agenda topics. This article is another example, if you can watch the video from February 13th from the City Council meeting, you can see an example of her preparation. I have been to enough City Council meetings over the past and seen the mayor humiliate people trying to speak at the podium. It all comes down to whether you want to see our Village destroyed by a Mayor that has developer campaign contributions in his war chest (and reasons to say yes to every developer) or whether you want a beautiful Village and Barrio as per our City of Carlsbad Core Values “small town charm.” I can also say that Michael Schumaker works with developers and both he and Mark Packard also have enormous campaign contributions from developers in each of their war chests as well. You can go to the City of Carlsbad website and see the contributions by developers over the years. How can we as citizens stop the developments? Vote out theses guys who think they know better than the people of Carlsbad who do want their Core Values as per Envision Carlsbad followed.

Addie February 17, 2018 at 7:24 am

And if you want to see what real vision looks like, check out CORI Schumacher’s website. She has innovative ideas that will benefit ALL of us. Furthermore, she doesn’t take money from hotel owners, developers, and others who pull the strings behind the scenes. Cori has intelligence, integrity, and a true work ethic unlike Hall and Packard who can’t take the time to read anything for themselves and just pose for photo ops. Cori representes the future of Carlsbad.

Cas February 17, 2018 at 3:52 am

Yes, Mayor Hall does “appear at every major event he possibly can”.

When stumping for and with billionaire developer Rick Caruso, Mayor Hall appeared at no less than 10 parties (aka speaking engagements). He also participated in a KPBS sponsored debate against De’Ann Weimer of Citizens for North County attempting to make the case for Caruso’s planned development on Cannon Rd. He appeared before the media a few times. Then there was his photo and quotes on the almost weekly glossy mailers sent out by Caruso’s team.

It is unknown how much time Carlsbad’s mayor put into preparing for all of these speaking engagements, press conferences & the debate. All for ONE developer. ONE very expensive special election. Because the zoned area was not nearly large enough for Caruso.

Yes, Mayor Matt Hall does “appear at every major event he possibly can”.

Addie February 16, 2018 at 5:54 pm

There’s a problem benefiting from your position and making sure other people with a vested interest in making a profit also benefit from your position. There’s a problem with appointing your friends and supporters to places on commissions so that you ensure they will do as you say. Open your eyes. Look at the Disclosures and Ethics portion of the city’s website. Look at the financial disclosures. Go the city council meetings. Why is it everyone else realizes what is going on except you? Or are you one of Hall’s donors? I guess that must be it.

Jon February 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Where are you getting your information? How much has he made on his holdings in the last five years?? Is there a problem with investing in the city you have spent a major part of your life supporting and donating time to? It would seem that he would want the best for Carlsbad.

Al February 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Take a look at his campaign donors and hold your nose. The link to developers and business with out of town addresses speaks to the way the city has been run for decades with city council incumbents never needing to really campaign hard, none ever getting fifty percent of the vote. Where does all that ‘contribution money, go? Do you wonder why those old guys have been there for decades and oppose districting even as it violated the law. Carlsbad has long been a dark hole in the political universe where the so many new people haven’t a clue about how it is run.

Addie February 16, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Has anyone looked at how much money Matt Hall has made from his real estate holdings in the Village? Any chance his developer buddies are helping him out by increasing the value of his holdings? I doubt Matt Hall will be running to the poor house any time soon. And part of his “long days” seem to include drinks and steaks with those same developer buddies. Tough life.

Dee February 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm


Jon February 16, 2018 at 10:16 am

Has anyone looked at what the Mayor gets paid??? It certainly would not put him in a position to retire from that!! Mayor Hall puts in long days and appears at every local event he possibly can.
Addie needs to get her facts straight.

Addie February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Same goes for MICHAEL Schumacher.

Addie February 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Time for Packard and Hall to go. They’ve both made more than enough money to retire. Stop ruining Carlsbad for the rest of us. We’ll still be living here after you’re long gone.

Comments are closed.