Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The Quarry Creek project demonstrates how difficult it is to fit new housing for a growing population into shrinking open space. The proposal would build 656 units on a 156 acres just south of Highway 78.
A controversial new housing development in North County promises a big turnout at a Carlsbad City Council meeting tonight.
The site was an old rock quarry, so much of land has not been pristine open space for decades. It includes El Salto falls, a waterfall considered sacred by Native Americans, that was narrowly preserved when a shopping mall was built nearby in Oceanside. Much of the land around the falls has been graded and is already devoid of the original habitat.
The development is close to shopping, transportation, a hospital and a community college.
However, the developer, McMillin Companies, wants to extend the project down the valley to where an historic building, the Marron Adobe, sits amidst relatively untouched greenery. The Marron Adobe is the oldest house in Carlsbad and is a rare example of early adobe ranch houses.
The city's housing element calls for 500 homes on the quarry site, but McMillin says it needs to build 650 homes to make the project viable.
Carlsbad’s Planning Commission has recommended that the project be limited to 600 homes and avoid building down the creek bed near the adobe, on what is known as "the panhandle."
Critics of the project are also concerned about the traffic impacts, which would be worst in neighboring Oceanside, although the project sits within Carlsbad city limits.
The developer has agreed to three million dollars in traffic mitigation measures.
Supporters say Carlsbad needs the development, especially the affordable housing component, which is mandated by state law.
Critics say the extra 150 homes will invade historically significant open space to deliver developer profits.
Carlsbad City Council plans to make a decision to settle the conflicting interests tonight.