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New master plan in the works for two Carlsbad neighborhoods

The city of Carlsbad is preparing to revitalize its two historic neighborhoods as a Florida-based urban planning firm has been hired to develop a new master plan.

Dover, Kohl & Partners was hired by the City Council on March 25 to draft a new master plan that will define a vision and address future development and land-use guidelines for the Barrio and Village neighborhoods.

“The city sees the Barrio and Village as unique places within a short walk of each other where people can live, work and play,” said Scott Donnell, Carlsbad’s senior planner. “And because these two neighborhoods border each other and are already linked in different ways, it makes sense to develop a master plan that will encompass and enhance both.”

Donnell also said uniting the Village and Barrio under one master plan will give the Barrio neighborhood tools to implement increased residential densities approved by City Council in early 2013.

The Barrio and Village neighborhoods are Carlsbad’s original neighborhoods. They are located on the coast between Buena Vista Lagoon and Tamarack Avenue and blend together along Oak Avenue.

One of the main goals of the new master plan is to make both historic neighborhoods more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

The City Council would like more than 100 bike racks and corrals in both neighborhoods and for to have medians across Carlsbad Boulevard so that it is easier for pedestrians to cross the street.

Carlsbad staff is also asking Dover, Kohl & Partners to analyzing existing conditions, constraints, and opportunities in both neighborhoods; and develop a master plan that will be driven by economic and environmental analyses.

In addition the Florida-based firm will conduct an extensive public participation process, including a two-week public forum where the community can meet and collaborate with designers to offer ideas.

“We just want to make sure the public buys into this plan of revitalizing these historic areas,” Donnell said. “We want to make sure that it’s not just staff’s ideas of what the Barrio and Village should be, but what the community believes it should be. It’s the best way to ensure the plan’s success.”

This is part of the reason why Dover, Kohl & Partners was awarded the $350,000 planning and consulting contract. Donnell said the firm felt it was important for the community to tell them what they wanted.

Donnell also said Dover, Kohl & Partners was chosen out of the 10 firms the city sent requests for proposals was because of the firm’s experience in market analysis, revitalization strategies and transportation with urban communities around the country.

The firm will coordinate with city staff on the master plan process.

The contract with Dover, Kohl is for $350,000 for service and expenses. In additional $35,000 will be set aside for incidental expenses such as equipment rentals and printing.

The city expects the firm to complete the master plan draft in 12 months.

“The City Council thought it was desirable time to revitalize the Barrio and Village neighborhoods with a new master plan since over the last few years’ money has already been allocated for these areas,” said Donnell.

In June 2013, the City Council authorized $1.4 million for new capital improvement projects in these two neighborhoods. They included streetscapes, safety and decorative lighting, traffic circles and pedestrian signage.

Over the last few years the Barrio neighborhood has had a 7.7-acre Pine Avenue Community Park and Senior Center constructed and a traffic circle at the intersection of Chestnut Avenue and Jefferson Street built.

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