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Residents sue to block affordable housing complex

By Aaron Burgin , August 25, 2017

CARLSBAD — A group of Carlsbad residents has filed a lawsuit against the city to overturn its approval of a 92-unit affordable housing complex in the Barrio neighborhood, which they called a “waste of public funds and property.”

The City Council narrowly approved the Pacific Wind Apartment complex July 11 by a 3-2 vote. The project calls for the developer, C&C Development and Innovative Housing Opportunities, to construct for five, three-story residential buildings and a two-story recreation center and the abandonment of quarter-mile section of Harding Street.

The project dates back to 2012 when the City Council loaned the developer $7.4 million to acquire around 20 duplex properties along Harding Street, which will be demolished to make way for the project. Originally, the city required the developer to build 140 units but the city OK’d the reduction after the property owner was unable to secure several key parcels.

A group that calls themselves Carlsbad Alliance for Responsible Development filed its suit Aug. 10, asking the courts to issue an injunction and require the city to do a more thorough study of the project’s impacts on traffic, pedestrian and bicycle access, noise, pollution, privacy, community character and aesthetic and other environmental concerns.

“It needs to be emphasized that the neighbors are not opposed to affordable housing,” the group’s attorney Everett Delano said. “It’s the layout, putting two- and three-story buildings immediately adjacent to smaller homes.”

The current plan calls for the larger homes to abut neighboring single-story duplexes, which are one story.

Delano said neighbors are also concerned about the lack of public transit and pedestrian and bicycle access to the project, which closes off a portion of a public street to accommodate the project.

“The infrastructure proposed seems like a really bad combination with the existing community,” Delano said. “If the city is going to go all in for its plans and talks about how important the barrio is for biking and pedestrian use, I think they need to take that on, why not make the project include some improvements for buses and bicycles?”

City officials have supported the project as a way to help address a shortage of affordable housing, and because the proposed Village and Barrio Master Plan identifies the neighborhood as a good place to build additional homes.

The Planning Commission approved the project in April, which prompted neighbors to appeal the decision to the City Council, which narrowly upheld it following a contentious public hearing.

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