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Carlsbad General Plan Update Approved

Carlsbad CA— The Carlsbad City Council unanimously approved the City of Carlsbad’s new General Plan and Environmental Impact Report Tuesday, capping an eight-year process that engaged thousands of community members in an extensive conversation about how they want their city to look and function in the future.

The City Council also approved the Climate Action Plan, which includes specific actions the city will take to meet state-required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The General Plan and Climate Action Plan become effective immediately and the city will begin implementing the policies and programs contained in the documents. Any land use and zoning changes within the city’s Coastal Zone will require the approval of the California Coastal Commission, which could take 12 to 15 months.

City staff will make all the changes approved by the City Council and prepare and publish the final documents. Zoning changes will become effective in about 45 days. Updating the city’s Local Coastal Program and zoning ordinances to align them with the new General Plan will take two to three years.

The City of Carlsbad’s General Plan was last updated in 1994, during a time of significant growth. Most of the development in the City of Carlsbad has taken place since then, and the new General Plan includes changes in some areas that are either vacant or underdeveloped, but land uses will not change in most of the city.

The General Plan’s Housing Element, which applies to housing in the city, must be certified by California Department of Housing and Community Development to make sure it complies with state housing mandates. That agency has 90 days to review the document and make its findings.

A city general plan is a blueprint for how land will be used in the city to achieve the community’s vision for the future. It explains the goals, policies and programs that will guide how the city will physically develop, look and function. It spells out where homes and businesses will be located, how people will move around the city, and how the city will meet community needs for parks, arts and culture, safety, recreation and sustainability. All cities in California are required to have a General Plan and update it from time to time so it stays current with changes in regulations and community needs and values. The City of Carlsbad’s updated General Plan meets the requirements of the city’s voter-approved Growth Management Program and state housing mandates.

The new General Plan includes a Mobility Element, which addresses how people get around the city. Depending on the location and nature of the road, the Mobility Element recommends how to best meet the needs of all users, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, movers of commercial goods and users of public transportation.

The process of revising the General Plan began nearly eight years ago, including a two-year public involvement process called Envision Carlsbad. Envision Carlsbad was an extensive community visioning and outreach effort that involved more than 8,000 residents, 100 community groups and organizations, scores of business owners and elected officials and city staff members. The General Plan update process utilized the input from Envision Carlsbad, in addition to input gathered at dozens of public meetings, thousands of public comments and extensive technical work.

The city released the original draft of the Environmental Impact Report in April 2014, and planners have made revisions in response to comments from the public. The Environmental Impact Report informs the community and decision makers of the environmental implications of the General Plan and a range of potential alternatives. General Plan documents are available on the city website.