The Coast News Group
Commissioner Velyn Anderson, left, expressed her objections to reducing the La Costa Towne Square shopping center's parking requirements before knowing exactly which retailers would be occupying each building. Photo by Rachel Stine

Planning Commission eliminates nonexistent parking

CARLSBAD — Planning Commission ruled on a parking issue for the shopping complex of the forthcoming La Costa Towne Square, which eventually boiled down to eliminating parking spaces that never existed in the first place. 

The La Costa Towne Square project consists of a shopping complex, office buildings and 63 new homes located at the corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue.

Grading has already been completed on the site and construction started recently.

While finalizing the project plans, Property Development Centers, which owns the project, added 24,329-square-feet of outdoor dining areas to the shopping center.

The added dining areas required additional parking under the project’s original site development plan explained city planner Van Lynch.

At the Aug. 6 meeting, city staff recommended that the Planning Commission eliminate the parking requirement for the outdoor dining area given that other establishments in the shopping center would provide adequate parking.

“(The outdoor dining areas) are pretty isolated and they wouldn’t really conflict with any next-door shopping areas,” said Lynch.

Lynch and staff recommended that the commission allow construction of the shopping center to continue with its original 1,342 parking spaces instead of requiring the owners to add 122 just for the outdoor dining areas.

“You’re not really reducing parking.

“What you’re doing is increasing the area for outdoor dining and therefore the area eligible for parking,” explained Planning Commission Chair Kerry Siekmann.

Though commissioners expressed concerns about inadequate parking, offering The Forum and Carlsbad Company Stores as examples, they agreed that parking for outdoor dining was not much of an issue.

All of the commissioners voted to approve the amendment allowing for the reduction in parking except for Commissioner Velyn Anderson.

Anderson stated that she wanted to be certain of the uses and retail owners of the shopping center before supporting a parking change.

Juan Arriaga, a construction manager for Property Development Centers, said that while he could not reveal the other shops aside from Vons that will occupy the rest of the shopping center, he did say that the center would include a fitness center, pet store, restaurants, beauty salons, and a gas station.