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Carlsbad Village Station
Conceptual plans for development at transit stations include housing units and increased amenities to promote more ridership. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Transit district announces development plans for Carlsbad stations

CARLSBAD — The North County Transit District laid out conceptual plans to fast-track development at the Carlsbad Village and, potentially, Poinsettia Transit stations during a March 16 Carlsbad City Council meeting.

Tracy Foster, the transit district’s chief development officer, said the district has eyes on developing the Village station so the district can establish a long-term revenue stream. Currently, plans are for developing on several acres of the 435-space parking lot, which is used for commuters and the public.

She said the regional transit agency board supports development, noting the success of the Oceanside Transit Center. Additionally, Foster said concepts include an unspecified number of residential units, a potential parking garage and other amenities to increase ridership.

“Both the Village and Poinsettia (stations) have ample parking and will meet future needs, but we’ll make sure it’s preserved for future development,” Foster said. “Our consultant will tell us best use and number of units.”

Foster said the district has also conducted a development analysis for its Sprinter corridor, which services Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido. Also, North County Transit District is looking to develop more of its property in Solana Beach, while the Poinsettia Station was included “to see what could possibly be done there,” she said.

Jeff Bryan, a senior planner at North County Transit District, said the district has an aggressive timeline to get shovels in the ground — technical analysis complete in June; request for proposal by October; receive proposals by December and a final agreement by March 2022.

Foster said the district has already satisfied a request for a proposal with a developer and is currently in negotiations. According to the staff report, 8.9 of the 13.89 acres are developable at the Village Station, although Foster nor Bryan had details on the exact scope.

Of the goals, North County Transit District aims to replace existing parking for transit patrons, improve the rider’s experience and complement the city’s long-term planning objectives and contribute to regional housing needs, especially affordable units.

“The way Oceanside Transit Center played out, we had an increase in parking,” Bryan said. “We’ll be discussing the parking needs, the business needs and how to integrate those.”

The council also discussed the housing component of the proposed plan and how it would integrate with the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which is the number of housing units a city must develop over an eight-year period and required by the state and county.

Jeff Murphy, Carlsbad’s community development director, said the transit district contacted the city several months ago about developing the parking lots. As for housing, he said in its current state, the city’s Housing Element does not include what is proposed by North County Transit District.

“April 6 we’re going to be bringing forward the Housing Element,” Murphy said. “Once that gets adopted … and we get certified by the state, we will initiate the zoning remapping. This will be included as part of those maps.”

He said the city can estimate what would go on the site, but what gets built is what will be counted for RHNA.