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The project calls for 136 condos, between 40 and 45 feet on the 11-acre lot east of Ponto Drive and north of Avenida Encinas, near Ponto beach. Photo by Shana Thompson
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Ponto residents concerned with development proposal


CARLSBAD — Residents in South Carlsbad are beginning to publicly voice their displeasure with a proposed development near Ponto beach.

The proposal, a residential project by Shopoff Realty Investments of Irvine, is too dense and doesn’t fit with the character of the neighborhood, according to Farhad Sharifi of the Ponto Beachfront Development Review Committee, a subcommittee of the San Pacific Homeowner’s Association.

The project calls for 136 condos, between 40 and 45 feet on the 11-acre lot east of Ponto Drive and north of Avenida Encinas. Shopoff also has rights to a 3-acre parcel on the west side of Ponto Drive, which it’s planning for a commercial center.

“It would be fantastic to have a park there,” Sharifi said. “That would be our wish, which has been declined. The developer has ignored us.”

A plot of land near Ponto Beach in Carlsbad. Photo by Shana Thompson

At the core of the concerns for nearby homeowners associations and resident groups is the lack of a public park and open space, as mandated by the Growth Management Plan and other city policies for the southwest quadrant of the city.

On April 17 during the City Council meeting, Jean Camp, who is also part of the group, spoke to relay the residents’ concerns. She said 6.6 acres of park space for South Carlsbad is missing and no park is near the area.

The closest, she said, is Poinsettia Park or others in Encinitas. In addition, North Carlsbad has 10 coastal parks, while South Carlsbad has none.

As for open space, she said there is a 30-acre deficiency and the lack of analysis by the developer is concerning.

Additionally, the group says if they will not get a park, then the developer should stay within the two-story, 35-foot maximum consistent with the Ponto Beachfront Village Vision Plan.

“Right now, you have six miles of coast without a park,” Camp said. “The taxes, facilities and park-in-lieu fees were paid to the city so that we could get that acreage of park where we need it.”

The city, though, said the park space would be added to Veterans Park, which is on Faraday Avenue between Cannon Road and College Boulevard.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazeltine said the dwelling unit requirement was removed and the city is deficient by the six acres for a park; however, Veterans Park is where the acreage would be situated. He said a preliminary master plan is scheduled to be developed next year.

In addition, the city said the open space dedicated to the Ponto area has been in the works for years via the Linear Park, which would coverage between 50 and 100 acres (40 percent in Ponto), according to Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio. However, the challenge is shifting the four lanes of the Highway 101 to create the space needed for the park south of Manzano Drive to La Costa Avenue, which is just north of the highway and Palomar Airport Road split.

“The southbound lanes would be relocated east to be adjacent to the northbound lanes in either a two-lane or four-lane configuration,” Barberio said. “There have been no plans designed or vetted by the City Council yet. It’s an idea, a concept.”

Lance Schulte, a former city planner and member of the group, said the developer is proposing to change land use regulations. Those regulations require a developer to consider using the land as a public park, which he said has never been analyzed by the city.

Camp submitted a plan for the park including an athletic field, multi-purpose field, recreation building, a playground, parking, a looped trail and other features.


Addie May 2, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Shpoff and its reps (Brian Rupp) have contributed money to the campaigns of local Carlsbad politicians. This is a known and verifiable fact. The questions then arise: 1. Why did they do this? 2. Why did Hall and others accept the money? 3. Is there a quid pro quo, whether explicit or implicit? 4. Finally, why do some Carlsbad citizens still support this sorry excuse of a mayor?

Carlsbad Voter April 26, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Why is the council allowing this development to proceed without the developer providing basic amenities? Why are they being exempted from having to follow the height limits? Developers build and pocket their $$$ while leaving the locals to have to deal with the results. I’ll vote against any member of council who votes to approve this thing!!!

Brian McInerny April 25, 2018 at 2:29 pm

We as Carlsbad residents are getting free schooling on how large scale real estate development works. First acquire an option on a prime piece of real estate. Make sure to support sympathetic local politicians. Build something that will bring in large profits for years to come. Pretend to have the best interests of the local community in mind. Have no concern for the irretrievable damage caused by your actions. Dump a lot of money into promoting your plan with pretty pictures and false promises. Use the property rights argument to sway susceptible residents. Pay willing locals to promote your plan. Undermine a community’s cohesiveness by providing a constant flow of short term visitors with no stake in the community. Provide a place where the haves will be safe from encounters with the have nots so as to promote more separation of the community beyond it’s already scary levels. Welcome to Carlsbad!

Joe Scott April 21, 2018 at 11:13 pm

A park near the beach, and a “park” two miles inland are not the same. As to Veterans Park, it’s not a park at all.? It is nothing but a sign pounded into the dirt in an undeveloped area, with mo buildings, no trees, no pathways, no playgrounds, no facilities, no vehicle access, not even parking. As a veteran I consider its name an insult.

KC Krause April 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Unfortunately another example of a Carlsbad development without public open space. From what I understand the only time the city council has accepted adding parks to Carlsbad is when they are successfully sued which can take years and is a waste of money – both us taxpayers and the litigants. Rather than working with existing residents who want more parks and usable open space near where they live rather than having to drive to the oversized parks with parking lots. The city has decided to rely on its legal team to deal with residents rather than compromise – this has been the trend since Mayor Hall took over…

Addie April 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Just another case of our elected officials taking money from a developer and then green-lighting whatever the guy wants. In this case Shopoff Realty has donated money to both Matt Hall and Michael Schumacher. Thank God Michael is not running for reelection and Hall is on his way out as soon as Cori becomes our next Mayor.

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