Against the project
The Caruso Affiliated company is pouring considerable money into gaining public support for conversion of natural, coastal open space into commercial usage (15 percent) and more manicured open space (85 percent).
We are against this project for the following reasons:
Caruso seeks to by-pass the California Environmental Quality Act, avoiding council approval, a vote by residents, and approval by the Coastal Commission.
This project will not significantly increase the quality of life in our city. High-end shopping centers, dining, entertainment and recreation already exist. Moreover, increased human use will result in more lagoon and beach pollution. Once Caruso completes development for human use of the 200 acres, who will maintain that area?
In a time of water shortage more development to consume more water seems ill advised. Indeed, we are surprised that the City Council has not stopped housing development during the drought.
The city of Carlsbad mandated its citizens to preserve water, by limiting irrigation.
We are happy to comply. However, to see that the city allows further construction and commercial development, which will increase water, usage seems like a contradictory message.
According to the city website, “In 1986 residents voted to approve the Growth Management Plan, which ensures ample land will be set aside as permanent open space. … when all the major new development in the city is complete, at least 38 percent of the city will be open space.” and “Nearly 80 percent of the existing preserved open space in Carlsbad is “natural open space.”
We trust that the goal is not to become more like “Encinitas (23 percent), San Marcos (14 percent), Vista (12 percent) and Oceanside (18 percent).”
We hope that the city’s citizens will look past the media blitz and see that Carlsbad’s vision for the future should not include this 85/15 project.
Put 85/15 on the ballot
In regards to Shelley Wong’s letter to the editor (“mail signatures” July, 31, 2015) about the Agua Hedionda 85/15 project: if it had gone through the normal process, i.e., through CEQA, the city of Carlsbad would have even more control over the process as they would be the lead agency.
City staff would weigh in and involve the public along the way, before the initiative and environmental documents were created.
In addition, mailers by “Preserving Carlsbad Open Space the Right Way” to Carlsbad households include this statement: “We’ll be out in the community, at farmers markets and around town to get your signature on the dotted line to put the 85/15 Plan on the ballot.”
Those who signed the initiative expected it would go to the ballot for a vote, giving the public more time to understand this project. I urge the City Council to put this on the ballot!
In favor of project
There are people in North County who are not in favor of Caruso Affiliated coming into Carlsbad to build on the land that was owned by SDG&E.
I for one am very excited about bringing in a high end shopping and entertainment center that will include a farmers market, fine dinning, movie theater, gourmet restaurants, outdoor class room, hiking trails and social gathering center in northwest Carlsbad.
The bottom line is, that the land was going to be sold off by SDG&E and developed by someone, chances are they wouldn’t keep it as open space, allowing the citizens access.
That larger section of the land was posted no trespassing, no one has had access to it and now Caruso is protecting it in perpetuity, from being sold to a developer and giving all the residents of Carlsbad access to hiking trails, an outdoor classroom and opening much of the land for growing organic foods and maintaining the strawberry fields.
This to me is a wonderful compromise and a great opportunity for maintaining open space in Carlsbad.
The voters decided about nine or 10 years ago that they didn’t want another 900 homes being build in Carlsbad on that land.
This is a much better solution for the residents, it maintains our property values, increases the tourism trade, provides additional tax revenue and most importantly, it brings several hundred jobs to our local community.
Caruso will be using approximately 26 acres for the upscale shopping and dinning center, the remainder will be used as a preserve for families, friends and local visitors to explore.
It’s a wonderful use of this property and at the same time, it’s protection of open space that is accessible for coastal north San Diego County.