Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Proclamation of Local Emergency: Learn how you can help make sure everyone feels safe on Carlsbad's streets


Share & Bookmark, Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Committee studying growth finalizing draft report

Post Date:03/16/2023

A resident-led committee created by the City Council is finalizing a draft report that identifies issues and standards that will help ensure Carlsbad retains an excellent quality of life as it continues to grow. The year-long committee process is the first step in the development of a new long-term growth management program.

Why now?
The City of Carlsbad’s growth management program was created in the late 80s and is largely credited with maintaining the city’s excellent quality of life, well-planned infrastructure and financial health over the past 35+ years.

  • In recent years, new state laws have been passed that render some parts of the city’s growth management program unenforceable, including putting a limit on how many new homes can be built in the city.
  • The state laws are meant to address a critical statewide shortage of housing by making it more difficult for cities to deny new housing projects.
  • Affordable housing, which is usually apartments and condos, is a big focus of the new state laws, as is locating new housing close to transit hubs.

About the committee
For the past year, over the course of 13 meetings, the Carlsbad Tomorrow Growth Management Citizens Committee has been learning about and discussing each of the existing growth management program’s 11 public facility “performance standards,” along with other issues the group felt were important to maintaining Carlsbad’s quality of life.

  • Performance standards refer to the level of service for public facilities such as roads, sewer pipes, parks and libraries, that needs to be maintained to meet the needs of new residents and ensure Carlsbad’s excellent quality of life.
  • Under the current growth management program, developers either pay fees toward or build the infrastructure and amenities needed to maintain these standards based on the new residents who will live in their housing.

About the report
The committee is recommending removing standards related to fire stations and city administrative facilities because other plans are already in place to ensure the city’s needs are met in the future. The committee recommends keeping standards for the following, which address:

  • Water
  • Wastewater
  • Parks
  • Open space
  • Traffic and mobility
  • Drainage
  • Libraries

“Standards” are typically tied to development fees. The next step is to complete technical studies to determine how these standards can be maintained, at what cost, and what percentage could be paid for or provided by developers. But first, the committee will review the final report, and then it will be presented to the City Council for consideration.

The committee also discussed several issues outside the scope of a growth management program but important to the city’s future quality of life. A summary of these issues will be transmitted to the City Council along with the committee’s report and include:

  • Renewable energy
  • Cultural arts
  • Homelessness
  • Aging community
  • Public facility fees

Next steps
The committee will meet March 23 to review its recommendations to City Council. This meeting, and all meetings of the committee, are open to the public and livestreamed on the city’s website.

You can the read the committee’s draft report and additional quality of life statements and provide input via email through March 23 or at the meeting in-person:

Carlsbad Tomorrow Growth Management Citizens Committee meeting
Thursday, March 23, at 5 p.m.
Faraday Administration Center
1635 Faraday Ave.
Watch online

The committee’s recommendations will be presented to the City Council for consideration and direction either in May or June, depending on whether the committee completes its work at the March 23 meeting or needs one additional meeting to do that. 

In addition to completing studies to determine how standards could be translated into developer fees in the future, several other steps are needed to complete a new approach to growth management. This includes updating city ordinances (like local laws) and other plans that implement the current program. The public is invited to provide input at every stage of the process, which is expected to take about three years.

In 1986, the Carlsbad City Council passed a growth management ordinance, which put conditions on how growth could occur, including requiring development pays its own way. That November, Carlsbad voters passed Proposition E, which affirmed the principles of the growth management program and established caps on the number of housing units that could be built in Carlsbad.

Now, 35 years later, the major new planned residential developments in Carlsbad are mostly built, and new state laws have changed how future housing will be approved. As such, the city is entering a new phase where different tools will be needed to effectively manage growth.

More information
Growth management in Carlsbad
Growth Management Citizens Committee webpage
New state laws
Eric Lardy, City Planner,, 442-339-2712

Return to full list >>