Carlsbad City Council OKs ‘85/15’ plan, bypassing community vote

North Coast Current

The Carlsbad City Council on Aug. 25 unanimously approved a development plan for an area near the Agua Hedionda Lagoon designed to incorporate open-space preservation, city officials announced.

The council made the decision based on review of an analysis of the plan — which calls for a Nordstrom department store in addition to preservation of lagoon land and strawberry fields — and after hearing from more than 130 speakers during a six-hour meeting.

The decision follows the certification of at least 9,784 signatures from registered Carlsbad voters, or 15 percent of total number of registered voters in the city, to place the Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan on the ballot. By approving the plan outright, the City Council has avoided a special election where Carlsbad residents could vote on the plan directly.

The initiative calls for a comprehensive plan for land use on a little more than 203 acres east of Interstate 5 between the south shore of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and Cannon Road, which includes current strawberry fields. While 155 acres of that land is designated open space, the other 48 acres have a commercial designation, according to the city. Developer Caruso Affiliated would build its shopping center on half of that 48 acres, with the other half going toward open space, the city said in its announcement. In that context, the “85/15 Plan,” as the initiative has been advertised, refers to the full 203 acres, not the 48 acres open to development.