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Preserving community character

Post Date:02/28/2024

This article is one in a series highlighting what has been accomplished during the first year of the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan.

About 13 years ago, the city worked with the community on a “visioning” project designed to get at the core values most important to our residents as they think about the future. And, the city checks in with the community from time to time to make sure those values still ring true. They have held up well, even with all the changes we have gone through since the City Council first adopted the Carlsbad Community Vision in 2010.

At the top of the list is “Small town feel, beach community character and connectedness.”

When the City Council created its first strategic plan, they started with the Community Vision. That’s why preserving Carlsbad’s unique community character is one of the main goals outlined in the plan.

Here is the five-year vision for community character from the plan:

Even though the city has grown and changed, residents agree that it still has the smalltown beach community character and connectedness that made them want to live here in the first place. Diverse community members of all ages enjoy participating in the wide array of programs and events offered by the city, where they run into neighbors, meet new friends and, mostly importantly, feel welcome and included.

Some of the specific initiatives highlighted in our first annual progress report on the strategic plan, held at a City Council meeting Feb. 6, include:

Updating the city’s growth management plan
The city has already completed the first step, which was to work with a diverse group of community members to review our existing plan and make recommendations that address where we are today as a city and what’s most important for the future. The City Council has since directed staff to do the technical work required to turn the committee’s recommendations into an updated plan.

Develop objective design standards for multifamily housing throughout the city
New state housing laws have dramatically decreased the control cities have over new housing developments. With the majority of the need being affordable housing, we can expect to see more apartments and mixed-use projects in Carlsbad’s future. One thing cities can do to retain some control is to develop “objective design standards” for what these new projects look like. After about a year of working with the community to develop the right array of architectural styles and other features, city staff completed these standards, and the City Council approved them last August.

Lower railroad through the Village
Another initiative in the City Council’s strategic plan is to work with the San Diego Association of Governments and the North County Transit District to prioritize, determine costs, and work with state and federal representatives to seek funding for lowering the railroad tracks in the Village. With train traffic increasing and plans already underway to install a second set of tracks through Carlsbad, lowering the train tracks will help ensure our Village is not cut off from the rest of the city. The City Council has set aside funding to help get the project to a level of design that allows construction cost estimates to be developed.

Develop, implement and promote programs that enhance wellness, socialization, inclusion and active living
This objective recognizes that the city plays a role in helping our residents live their best lives, by providing programs, classes, nature trails, pools, libraries and other things that promote wellness, creating new social connections and a healthy outdoor lifestyle. If you look at the graphic below, you can see that Carlsbad has no shortage of opportunities available.  Last year, the City Council approved an updated Parks & Recreation master plan, we started planning our newest park, and two new public art projects got underway. We’ve enhanced our genealogy resources at the library and launched a new campaign to raise awareness of our beautiful trails system.

You can read more about this goal in the city’s strategic plan and our first annual progress report.

Updates on other goals:
Economic vitality
Environmental sustainability and the natural environment

Still to come:
Quality of life and safety
Organizational excellence and fiscal health

Return to full list >>