CARLSBAD — A four-story mixed-use development project at the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive was approved 6-1 on Dec. 6 by the Carlsbad Planning Commission.
The proposal, which is located on the northwest corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive, calls for a 25,631-square-foot building with a below-ground parking garage and the purchase of 17 parking in-lieu fees. Commissioner Patrick Goyarts was the lone vote against.
Currently, the popular Choice Juicery smoothie bar resides on the property along with an open gathering area.
Property owner Leor Lakritz of Orange County was not present at the meeting, but Kirk Moeller, senior project architect at MAA Architect in Carlsbad, said Lakritz wants to develop an iconic building.
“He wants to create something that is a monument and everlasting,” Moeller said. “The park is nice, but the property owner has the right to develop something more viable for his needs. We feel this is the best thing for that corner.”
The building would stand at 45 feet, with 12 parking spaces in the garage off the State Street alley, 6,293 square feet of office space on the first and second floors and a total of five apartments on floors two through four. All the apartments consist of one bedroom, although two would include a den.
The garage would include two independently operated car lifts to shuttle vehicles to and from street level. The residential and retail space, meanwhile, would be specifically for leasing.
Many of the commissioners, meanwhile, said they didn’t agree with different aspects of the plan, but their job is to remain objective, thus moving the plan forward to the City Council.
Many of the residents who spoke at the meeting, though, railed against the project describing it as out of touch and lacking parking and character. Also of concern were its architecture, traffic issues turning into the alley and potential flooding and fire issues in the garage.
As for the parking in-lieu fees, the staff report noted the average parking occupancy for public parking lots is 51.1 percent, according to a parking study released this year. The highest measurement was in May at 70 percent, thus the city is willing to grant the parking in-lieu.
Lisa Snyder, manager of the Village Faire shopping center, focused her comments on parking. The parking lot across the alley from the juicery, though, is not owned by the city, Carlsbad Project Planner Shannon Harker said. The North County Transit District owns the lot, she said.
“We are against the project due to the lack of parking,” Snyder said. “This does nothing to minimize it.”
Proponents of the project said it is an added resource to the city and Carlsbad Village. They noted how it will drive more foot traffic and business with great views for residents and the second-story commercial space.
The city staff report said its justification keeps with the design guidelines set for the area and improves the physical appearance of the Village.
The report also states an application is on file to add two more storage containers, like the one Choice Juicery operates in, for the sale of food and alcohol.