Carlsbad adopts long-range affordable housing plan that discusses this and includes the same information as below.
The April 13, 2021 City Council meeting did not address the Housing Element as an agenda item. However, there was some public comment from some of our Aviara Neighbors in the public comments in the first 15 minutes. Additionally, the public comments trailed at the end of the meeting regarding site 13. Council Member Bhat-Patel made some closing remarks regarding the vote at the previous meetings. Thank you to those members of the Aviara community for your remarks.
The Carlsbad City Council met on April 6th, 2021. The agenda item number 6 titled “GENERAL PLAN HOUSING ELEMENT UPDATE” was concerned with the Housing Element and there was discussion on the inclusion of these sites in the Housing Element. The City Staff had been preparing the “Housing Element” document for over a year. The City Council was voting on a few change to the document and to approve and submit it to the state. The majority of the feedback on the Housing Element was in opposition of rezoning this Aviara site. Several members of the community addressed the Council and those comments can be viewed at the 50 minute marker for agenda item #6. In the Planning and Housing Commission meetings, the members of the community sent over 280 emails opposing these sites being included in the Housing Element.
Thank you for those neighbors who took the time to write emails, make phone calls and speak at the meetings.
There was broad agreement in the meeting that this site is a poor choice for high density housing:
Mayor Matt Hall motioned for “Site 13 - Zone 20 cluster” to be removed from the Housing Element based on the large amount of public feedback. This site was the only site in the Housing Element inventory that has any real feedback from the community. Council Member Teresa Acosta seconded the motion to remove the site from inventory. However, Council Member Priya Bhat-Patel whose district includes part of this cluster wavered on the motion. Council Member Bhat-Patel’s thoughts were to mark this site as “low-priority” for rezoning. She did not vote for the Mayor’s motion. Keith Blackburn owns property too close to this site to participate in the vote. Council Member Cori Schumacher followed Council Member Bhat-Patel’s lead. The Mayor’s motion did NOT pass. The site remains in the Housing Element as a potential site for up-zoning.
It is important to keep in mind that including these properties in the Housing Element does NOT mean they will be rezoned. There is still a process the city must go through to have these rezoned. We will be there if and when those actions start to move forward.
Make no mistake, the “low-priority” designation of the Aviara site means nothing. This site is still endanger of moving forward. The community must stay alert. A developer could propose a high density development on these properties at any time regardless of what is in the “Housing Element” and start the process of rezoning. The State is requiring Cities to build housing and the emphasis on the types of development is high density housing. The thinking is that high density means affordable. This is a rather simplistic view of the world considering places like Tokyo and New York are very high density but also extremely expensive.
What can we do?
The City of Carlsbad is updating a state-mandated “Housing Element” document which serves as a strategy to provide new housing “units” based on a “Regional Housing Needs Assessment” (RHNA) for the next 8 years. The RHNA is simply a look at growth trends in the area and extrapolates future housing needs for all income levels. There is a succinct FAQ document on the City’s website about the Housing Element. The city is required to provide a strategy on how they will meet the housing needs of the community based on this “needs assessment.” Carlsbad has been allocated approximately 3,900 housing units that will be required based on estimated growth through the 2020’s. Of those 3,900 units, approximately 2,100 units (54%) must be for lower income populations. The following is a breakdown of the RHNA shares.
Since housing prices in Coastal Southern California are so high, very high density housing like apartment complexes will be required to meet those lower income housing units. A bulletin provided by the city summarizes this assumption.
The “Housing Element” strategy document is solely focused on how the City can work with private developers to meet these needs. It is important to note that nothing in the Housing Element document is an actual plan to rezone any properties. It is solely to show to the state that the City has a plan to meet future housing needs and that the plan is inclusive of all income groups. However, it does signal to private developers and property owners that the City will start the rezoning process if necessary and those proposed sites in the Housing Element are up for discussion and consideration.
The Housing Element is NOT concerned with preserving your community character, your views, your property values, backyard privacy or neighborhood demographics. As an Aviara home owner those are likely your main concerns. However, they may not sway the staff and council members who propose adding high density housing to Aviara.
The Housing Element needs to have a plan to add 2,100 units of low income housing in the City. Aviara homeowners who do NOT want more high density housing in Aviara must keep this in mind. The City MUST have a plan to provide this type of housing somewhere in the City. The City is reviewing “adequate sites” to add this high density housing. At this point, Aviara concerned citizens are really trying to disqualify the Site 13 - Zone 20 Cluster from the housing element. We are not sure if this is actually possible to get the “Site 13 - Zone 20 Cluster” removed from this housing strategy document. So we are likely in for a longer term opposition effort to ensure that the Site 13 - Zone 20 cluster is not developed to low income housing.
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