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Carlsbad's vision for redevelopment becoming clearer

Carlsbad's niche in San Diego can be identified by its capacity for focusing on a combination of residential, business, visitor and environmental needs. The origin of Carlsbad Village dates back to at least the 1880s, when the rail line linking San Diego and Los Angeles was constructed.

One thing that makes Carlsbad stand out is its government. The city of Carlsbad is a general law city, meaning that it follows the general state laws rather than having a charter of its own. The government plays a strong role in redevelopment and other aspects of Carlsbad's climate.

Carlsbad is home to Plaza Camino Real, a major regional shopping center, and also accommodates 16 automobile dealerships; 25 hotels; high technology, multimedia and biomedical businesses such as ViaSat, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt and Beckman Coulter; electronics; light industry parks; land developers building single and multi-family residences; and golf apparel and equipment manufacturers including iXL, Callaway, Taylor Made and Cobra Golf. In fact, Carlsbad has been deemed the "Golf Manufacturing Capitol of the World," also hosting many top competitions.

Aside from what Carlsbad already has to offer, redevelopment of Carlsbad Village is high on the city's list of priorities. Carlsbad City Council adopted a 25-year Village Area Redevelopment Plan in 1981. In 1994, the Redevelopment Law was amended so that every five years a new plan is created, earning the name "Five-Year Redevelopment Implementation Plan."

With the fifth year approaching, new projects have been identified for execution within the next five years by the Carlsbad Redevelopment Agency. These projects are slated to begin in February 2005.

The goal is to make Carlsbad Village distinct and memorable, with specific landmarks. It must also strive for high quality, well-designed private development and public improvements, accommodating a wide range of land uses and serving as a specialty retail center for all of Carlsbad. In addition, it will possess a strong civic character and provide a place for people to take part in community events and will be a comfortable and safe place to work, shop, visit and live. Finally, it will demonstrate a welcoming attitude and spirit of cooperation to new businesses and developers.

Conceptual plans for a specialty commercial center near Village Commuter Rail Station on Grand Avenue and State Street are being made. By encouraging new commercial development within this area, the Redevelopment Agency hopes to motivate other property owners to rehabilitate or redevelop their nearby properties.

A commercial mixed-use project at Roosevelt Street and Carlsbad Village Drive is also being facilitated. This plan will be further looked at during the second half of the Implementation Plan period and has not yet been given much attention.

Located outside of the Carlsbad Village Redevelopment Area, the new master-planned community of Bressi Ranch will consist of a maximum of 623 homes and a retail center and corporate center upon completion. The project is located on 585 acres of land at the intersection of El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road. The mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly community gives residents the opportunity to work and enjoy recreational activities near their home. Retail stores and office and industrial centers will provide jobs for residents and commuters alike.

Carlsbad City Council recently approved a revised Habitat Management Plan that will preserve natural habitats and, according to Carlsbad principal planner Don Rideout, will yield a permit to build the proposed Carlsbad Municipal Golf Course. The revision requires more land to be used for conservation and also mandates that developers preserve more natural habitat because of destruction of other land. As part of the plan, roughly 50 percent of the golf course land will be conserved for wildlife purposes. This makes Carlsbad the first of seven cities to approve its portion of the North County Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan.

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