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Also zoning changes for Carlsbad Village

Coastal Commission approves farmworker housing, homeless shelters in Carlsbad

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The California Coastal Commission recently approved new Carlsbad ordinances for farmworker housing, emergency shelters and increased densities

Under the farmworker housing measure, up to 12 residential units could be created on an agricultural property, housing as many as 36 people.

Larger farmworker complexes might be permitted, but only within M-1 industrial zones.

While it isn't specified whether the farmworker unit should be a building or a mobile home, the commission said it needs to be removed within 90 days of termination of the site’s or related property’s agricultural use classification.

"These regulations ensure that farmworker housing is tied to active agriculture, in that active farmworkers only can reside in this housing ..." commission staff wrote.

Kevin Pointer, a Carlsbad associate planner, said half the roughly 100 beds in the newly-completed La Posada de Guadalupe development at Impala Drive and Orion Street, have been dedicated to employed farmworkers. The other half are for homeless people.

Pam Drew, another Carlsbad associate planner, said others who work in agriculture are scattered among multifamily units, trailers or mobile homes or live on the street in the city's open areas.

"We haven't specifically had an ordinance for farmworkers yet," Drew said.

The new shelter cost about $2 million to construct and was paid for by agricultural conversion mitigation fees, assessed at the rate of $10,000 for each acre taken out of production.

Crops harvested in Carlsbad have ranged from strawberries flowers, but acreages have diminished with less production and increased urbanization.

Eric Larson, San Diego County Farm Bureau executive director, said none of the county's other 19 jurisdictions, including the county government, have any kind of a farmworker housing program.

"It took us eight years to get this one [La Posada de Guadalupe], and I'm not sure I could recommend doing it again. It's a shame but the neighbors really come unglued when we talk about this. It's a really, really difficult path," Larson said.

While farmworker housing measures will continue to be debated, the city of Carlsbad also has a new emergency shelter ordinance that was ratified by the Coastal Commission last week.

The emergency shelter ordinance provides temporary housing for the homeless within the M (Industrial) and P-M (Planned Industrial) zones in Carlsbad.

Although as many as 30 emergency shelter beds would be permitted within both of the aforementioned zones, a conditional use permit (CUP) would be required for shelters with more than 30 beds. No camping or sleeping would be permitted outside the shelters.

The Carlsbad housing measure approved by the Coastal Commission last week was to create a higher residential densities for multifamily units within the nine districts of the 90-acre Carsbad Village Area.

Approximately half the area is within the coastal zone. In general, the Village Area is bounded by Carlsbad Boulevare (Highway 101) and Garfield Street on the west, Buena Vista Lagoon on the north, Interstate 5 on the east and Walnut Avenue on the south.

The "tourism support district" or District 9, along the area's western border, will have a minor change in its minimum density from 15 to 18 dwelling units per acre.

The maximum density for District 9 and four districts on the north and south boundaries will be unchanged at 23 dwelling units per acre.

The minimum densities for the four central districts in the Village Area have seen a much more substantial increase from 15 dwelling units per acre to almost double to 28 dwelling units per acre. The maximum density for these districts are also unchanged, remaining at 35 dwelling units per acre.

The Coastal Commission also established a series of development standards governing managed living units within the Village area. Each unit provides affordable rental housing for no more than two people.

Typically smaller than a standard apartment, the affordable managed units now have minimum standards of 150 square feet for one person and 220 square feet for a unit with two people. These units also have a maximum size of 350 square feet.

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