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Carlsbad Changing Village and Barrio Plan Based on Public Input

Carlsbad CA— A new draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan will be available by summer 2017, the City of Carlsbad announced at the October 19, 2016, Planning Commission meeting. The plan will be revised based on public input to more closely align with the community’s vision for the Village and Barrio neighborhoods.

At a Glance

 The city is updating a master plan for the historic Village and Barrio areas.

  • The plan establishes a vision for future development and land uses in these two neighborhoods.
  • A new draft of the plan, based on community input, will be available in 2017.
  • See a list of recommended changes to the plan.
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At the Oct. 19 Planning Commission meeting, city staff recommended changes to the draft Village and Barrio Master Plan, including:

  • Making the overall tone, content and graphics more Carlsbad-specific and in line with the community’s character.
  • Eliminating the proposed building height increase to 55 feet and keeping it at its current 45-foot limit.
  • Revising design guidelines so they are easier to understand and have more “teeth” so city staff, the Planning Commission, and City Council can more easily ensure proposed projects are consistent with the community’s character.
  • Drafting an implementation plan for public improvements that identifies, in general terms, time frames, feasibility, and constraints, potential costs and funding sources.

View the staff report for a list of the suggested changes. The full list of changes as modified and confirmed by the Planning Commission will be available on the city’s website next week.

City staff will spend the next several months making changes to the plan, including adding the findings of a parking study currently underway. The city expects to have the new draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan ready in 2017, when the public can take another look. Later, the Planning Commission will review the new draft and, ultimately it will go to the City Council for approval.

The Village and Barrio Master Plan will replace the Carlsbad Village Master Plan and Design Manual, which was adopted in 1996 and has been revised periodically since, most recently in 2014. The city released the first draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan in November 2015. The plan was then revised based on input, and a second draft was released in April 2016.

More About the Plan

 The master plan focuses on enhancing neighborhood character, community gathering spaces and economic vitality, based on ideas gathered from the community starting in September 2014. Hundreds of community members participated in hands-on design sessions, an online forum, technical sessions and public meetings.

Among the concepts included in the plan are new access opportunities that could result from putting the coastal railroad tracks through the Village and Barrio underground in a trench. The San Diego Association of Governments is adding a second parallel track along the coast and is studying the option of trenching the tracks below ground level, at the City of Carlsbad’s request.

Other ideas for the Village include:

  • Make Grand Avenue more pedestrian-friendly by creating a promenade.
  • Create public plazas at Grand Avenue and State Street and other places.
  • Improve streets and sidewalks west of Carlsbad Boulevard, benefitting drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Tunnel beneath Interstate 5 to connect Grand Avenue to the east side of the freeway.

Ideas for the Barrio include:

  • Along the streets, add crosswalks, trees and pedestrian-scaled lighting and improvements to “calm” automobile traffic.
  • Construct a roundabout at Tamarack Avenue and Jefferson Street to create a gateway to the Barrio and beach.
  • Ensure new development is in keeping with the current character of the area.

According to Scott Donnell, a city planner who is overseeing the plan’s development, the city decided to combine the Village and Barrio under one master plan to enhance connectivity between the two areas.

The plan also focuses on alternatives to traveling by car, such as walking and biking. The city already has emphasized making the Village and Barrio more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly by placing more than 100 bike racks and corrals in both neighborhoods and by making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross Carlsbad Boulevard and Grand Avenue and walk along Chestnut Avenue in the Barrio. The plan also includes ways to increase parking in the Village and Barrio and ideas for emerging transportation choices, such as a shuttle system and ride sharing. The parking study of the Village, Barrio and beach area now underway will help further inform future parking strategies in the master plan’s area. The city will continue to seek community input on ideas to improve parking in connection to the study.

The community may review the draft plan and provide comments by emailing

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