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Carlsbad reaches mutual agreement with environmental and community groups

By Rebecca Sykes , March 23, 2017

CARLSBAD — On March 14, Carlsbad approved a series of agreements with environmental and community groups and settled a lawsuit filed by the North County Advocates.

Over the past year, the city has been working with Lennar Homes, North County Advocates, Preserve Calavera, Friends of Aviara and Friends of Buena Vista Reservoir to reach agreements. The settlement was regarding Poinsettia 61 Community Benefit Agreement, which involved these groups having concerns regarding habitat mitigation and open space issues.

In 2015, North County Advocates filed a complaint against Carlsbad regarding the city’s General Plan and Climate Action Plan.

The General Plan was regarding how the city used land and public facilities like roads, parks, and fire stations while the Climate Action Plan describes how the city will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every city in California is required both plans.

The North County Advocates voiced concerns over what they said were the city’s lack of fulfillment with the Growth Management Program, which includes parks and open space, transportation, and increasing and protecting Carlsbad’s open space and natural resources.

Some of the key results in the agreement include:

• Lennar’s 123-unit detached condo project approved

• Lennar will protect habitat in the project area

• The City of Carlsbad gets mission portion of Poinsettia Lane built and settles lawsuit filed by North County Advocates

• New park at Buena Vista Reservoir, existing unused park land converted to Habitat at Aviara Park and Veterans Park

• Commitment of $4 million for additional open space land acquisition

• Changing the zoning for the Buena Vista reservoir to a park and securing the funds to build it

• Adding two rangers to patrol the natural lands and protect the resources

• Establishing better performance standards and metrics to ensure the goals of the Climate Action Plan and smart growth policies in the General Plan can be met.

The North County Advocates released a press release regarding the settlement. North County Advocate Chair Howard Krausz stated, “We saw a lot of problems with the proposed General Plan and Climate Action Plan…we can’t fix all of them, but we are proud of what we achieved. Some of the impact of our agreement will be felt immediately while others will continue to benefit the residents of Carlsbad for years to come.”

Lennar Homes will protect habitat in the projected area and 6 acres of land will be added to the city’s habitat preserve.

“I think it’s an important victory for all of Carlsbad, not just the environmental community. It ensures important infrastructure and services, the very things required by the city’s Growth Management Program,” said Everett DeLano, who represented North County Advocates in the lawsuit.

DeLano believes Lennar agreed to a mutual decision on the project because they wanted the project approved and needed off-site habitat for mitigation.

“The settlement agreements allow the Poinsettia 61 project to move forward, provide for the construction of a park at Buena Vista Reservoir, the construction of a missing link of Poinsettia Road, and ensure the City adequately addresses its obligations to provide for transportation, fire response times, and mitigation for greenhouse gas emissions,” said DeLano.

The Poinsettia 61 project includes a 123-unit detached condo project, which is 50.80 acres of land located south of Cassia Road, between the current western and eastern segments of Poinsettia Lane, and east of Ambrosia Lane. The project could start construction by the end of this year.

“This was a victory for the community,” said Diane Nygaard, a North County advocate member and president of Preserve Calavera. “The developer got to build their project, but the community got improved safety with the completion of the mission link of Poinsettia, more open space in three parts of the city and a park.”

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