The Carlsbad City Council Tuesday night approved a plan to allow additional housing to be built in the Barrio neighborhood.
Currently, there are 962 homes around the perimeter of the Barrio, and 231 homes in the core area. Council members unanimously voted to amend the housing element of the city’s general plan so that as many as 759 additional dwellings could be constructed in the community.
Acting Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio encouraged council members to approve increased densities in the Barrio so the city could meet impending state affordable housing requirements and avoid a penalty. The council will soon consider the proposed Quarry Creek residential project, which could also help meet state requirements, he added.
In addition, Barberio said the plan would encourage private revitalization and reinvestment in the Barrio area, where the public has funded most improvements. Since 2000, Barberio said the city has invested more than $28 million in public funds toward public improvements in the community.
Roughly a dozen speakers – mostly Barrio residents – addressed the council. Some argued against concentrated, increased development in the area in fear of changing the historic neighborhood and increased traffic.
Ofie Escobedo, who owns and operates Lola’s Market in the Barrio along with her sister, said it would be a “shame to change the character of the area by allowing more density in the neighborhood.”
“We have a beautiful city. Let us not spoil it by crowding apartments and people into smaller places,” said Escobedo, whose family has owned businesses in Carlsbad since 1943. “In your wisdom, we hope that you will consider what is best for the residents and for the generations to come.”
Other Barrio residents welcomed change.
Sherry Alvarado thanked the City Council and the Carlsbad Planning Commission, which approved the plan in December, for the revitalization of Carlsbad’s Village. Alvarado said she would like to see the Barrio revitalized as well.
“I am in support of all that you guys are doing,” Alvarado said. “I think that you’ve done a great job.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mark Packard also thanked the staff for their work on the plan.
“I think staff have done a very commendable job in finding some good compromises, giving a nod to preserving the historicity of much of the Barrio and still providing opportunities for economic development and support,” Packard said.