The Landscape Changes
The sixties was a decade when Carlsbad planned for the future. No longer concerned with only organizing the basic services that a city must have, city government could focus attention on constructing civic buildings and programs. The city worked towards finding ways to increase sources of tax revenue. The construction of light industry and residential and commercial development added tax money to the city budget. This in turn helped to finance new city programs. As the city began a series of land annexations, Carlsbad’s geographical borders expanded, thus increasing the size and economic viability of the city. Planning for the future, Carlsbad defined a series of goals, which included finding ways to improve existing problems; formulating a general plan for future growth; constructing adequate civic buildings to service the growing community; and establishing a secure financial tax base.
One goal that the City Council set was finding solutions to preexisting problems in the downtown area. In 1961, complaints arose regarding the lack of street lighting, rezoning of certain areas, lack of adequate sewerage disposal, decrepit housing, and no freeway underpass at Chestnut. The downtown area was desperately in need of improvement. Construction of Interstate 5 had divided the city in half. The lack of roads connecting the downtown section of Carlsbad to the areas east of the freeway made it difficult for students to get to the newly constructed high school. The Santa Fe Railway, which ended passenger and freight service to Carlsbad by 1960, left its station depot as an abandoned eyesore in the downtown district. Many streets needed repaving, adequate sewage to stop the seasonal street flooding, and improved street lighting.
In one downtown section, some of the housing was unfit for human habitation. Many of the units used for housing in the downtown area that were declared unfit for human habitation by Dick Osburn, Carlsbad’s Building Commissioner, were converted garages. Used as rental units, these buildings lacked proper sanitation, had defective wiring, too many people living in them, and only six foot high ceilings. Osburn declared these units would need at least a fifty percent remodel to make them safe for human habitation. Gradual rehabilitation of these units occurred when seventeen of them were demolished and were replaced with housing that conformed to city building codes.
In July 1961, the Planning Commission granted a zoning change for one section of Roosevelt Street at the request of Blazer Aranda. The area known as the” Roosevelt Zone”, included Tyler, Roosevelt, Madison, Walnut and Oak was changed from R.P. (residential-professional) to C-2 (general commercial) zoning. This increased the commercial tax revenues for the city and allowed for an expansion of the business community in town.
As the sixties progressed, the City Council continued with downtown improvements: streets were paved; drainage was installed that eliminated the ponds that formed along Grand Avenue after each rain; and the Elm Street lighting project was accomplished. During Mayor David Dunne’s’ administration, funds were obtained that financed the $1 million dollar Chestnut Street underpass construction, which was completed in 1971.This underpass greatly facilitated travel in town. It was particularly helpful as a direct route for all school children who lived west of the freeway and attended school east of the freeway.
Chris Christiansen, who was instrumental in obtaining the Old Santa Fe Depot for city use, convinced the members of Carlsbad’s Rotary Club to donate time and funds to rehabilitate the building. The Rotary Club was successful in converting an eyesore into a small downtown park.
Carlsbad and Vista agreed in 1961 that in order for their cities to grow, they needed to improve the existing sewage system. In order to accomplish this, they recognized the necessity of entering into a joint powers agreement specifically to solve this issue. The plan they devised called for construction of an entirely new treatment plant built at Encina that connected to a mile long concrete ocean outfall pipe. The Encina plant would replace the sewage treatment facility built in 1929 on Buena Vista Lagoon, near Highways 101 and 78. Taxpayers approved the sewage treatment plants bonds in 1962. The approval of a $2.12 million bond in Carlsbad and a $2,750,000 bond in Vista financed the construction of the Encina plant. Financial arrangements were later made to admit Buena Sanitation District and San Marcos City Water District into the Encina Sewage Treatment Facility. By the fall of 1965 the plant was built and operational.
Another city goal was to formulate a general or master plan that would map the city’s future growth and give clear directions on how the city would obtain goals set in the plan. The city had adopted a county land use plan and a set of zoning codes immediately after incorporating in 1952. They operated under these guidelines until the 1960s, when substandard housing in the downtown area, and increased commercial, industrial, and residential growth as well as increased traffic and the annexation of more land brought on the need for planned growth. By December 1965, the City Council approved the Planning Department’s preliminary General Plan, pending public imput. Consisting of 41 pages, the first General Plan, adopted in 1966, charted Carlsbad’s growth for the next twenty years. The Plan was to be reviewed every year and revised every five years, adapting to changes in civic and community requirements. Elements of Carlsbad’s General Plan had to interact with each other as well as with plans and programs at national, state, regional and local levels.
Some of the elements contained in Carlsbad’s General Plan were added in the years following the initial plan adoption. The Housing element, added in 1969, was the first added amendment to the approved General Plan. Today, after much revision, the Carlsbad General Plan covers land use, circulation (traffic), noise, housing, open space and conservation, public safety, parks and recreation, and arts. Hundreds of pages long, the Plan reflected Carlsbad’s expanded city borders and the complex issues facing the city.
New Civic Facilities and Expansions
The physical growth of Carlsbad was another goal set during the sixties. The city built three large publicly owned buildings: City Hall, Fire Station 1 and the Library. Annexation of land that increased city boundaries and added more taxable land into the city also began during this decade. The construction of new industry, housing subdivisions, and commercial outlets also contributed to the physical and financial growth of the city. In the late sixties, construction began on a series of civic buildings. More than 30 years after construction, these buildings are still in use. By the mid sixties, Carlsbad citizens had outgrown their small library located in the old water department. Children and adult services were divided between two separate buildings. The need for a larger city library was obvious. The voters approved a bond issued that financed the construction of the new facility built on Elm Street that opened in 1967.This building is still used as a library and is currently known as the Georgina Cole Library. It became a focal point for community cultural experiences, providing thousands of volumes of books, art displays, lectures, film series and community events.
The first building that was constructed with city funds specifically for city office space was located on Elm and Pio Pico in 1954. It housed City Hall offices, the Police Department and the Fire Department. In 1968 this building was demolished when Interstate 5 was widened. The City was forced at that time to rebuild their city complex. On September 8, 1968, the newly constructed City Hall and Police Department complex was dedicated. These buildings were located on a site, fronting the realigned Pio Pico and Elm location. The Fire Department was relocated into a separate building located diagonally from City Hall on Elm Street. A series of land annexations during the sixties increased Carlsbad’s area from 7.5 square miles to 11.3 square miles. The 1952 Incorporation boundaries marked Carlsbad’s eastern most border as El Camino Real and set the southern border just south of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Annexation of various strips of land surrounding the city established new northern, eastern and southern borders. One strip, annexed in 1963, ran east from Palomar Airport for two miles and incorporated the future Carlsbad Raceway. The industrial, commercial, and residential growth potential resulting from these land annexations provided Carlsbad with a secure financial future.
Residential development that boomed during the sixties also contributed to Carlsbad’s tax revenues. One of the largest developers, Kamar Construction Company, organized and run by Robert and Jerry Rombotis, built numerous subdivisions in Carlsbad such as Falcon Hills, Tamarack Manor, and Holiday Manor. In 1969, the old Carlsbad airport near Chestnut and El Camino was converted into a subdivision of 100 homes called El Camino Mesa. The La Costa resort and surrounding homes were built in the mid- sixties. While technically not part of Carlsbad until 1972, the development of this area and the increase in population had a major impact on the city.
Impacts on Agriculture and New Revenue sources
Residential and industrial development that replaced agricultural land in the city led to citizen complaints. Carlsbad’s Mayor David Dunne responded to these charges in April 1969. Dunne stated, “ A lot of people here are not too anxious to see the city grow, but you can’t put a fence around it. People are going to come and we have to take care of them. We’ve had pretty much an agricultural/tourist type economy, but we have to develop our industrial base to keep taxes within a reasonable figure.” The flower growers in Carlsbad were the ones most affected by the industrial and residential growth. Until the 1960s the flower industry was Carlsbad’s largest employer. Esker’s poinsettias, Frazee’s ranuculas, Thompson’s roses, Pedley’s Bird of Paradise, Hummel’s succulents and bromeliads all dominated the local fields and green houses, providing employment for many. The farmers were adversely affected in a number of ways including the freeway that paved over fields and increases in tax assessments. During the sixties, agricultural land was classified for tax purposes as potential subdivision land. This classification increased the tax 250% between the years 1961 and1965. Farm delegations protested this assessment classification and requested the land be taxed like any other business or commercial property. When taxes for agricultural land exceeded the total income derived from the land, many Carlsbad growers could no longer afford to farm. Gradually the acres of Carlsbad flower fields were converted into industrial and commercial and residential areas.
Carlsbad’s financial stability continued to grow along with the industrial and commercial growth in the city. The largest commercial enterprise developed in the city at this time was the Plaza Camino Real Mall. Built on land deemed worthless for farming, the revenue derived from this multimillion-dollar regional shopping center greatly enhanced Carlsbad’s budget. It provided a dependable source of commercial revenue for Carlsbad at a time when the downtown business district was in a financial downturn.
Richard Graves, an expert on urban redevelopment was consulted on how to revitalize the downtown area of Carlsbad so that it would be a benefit to the city rather than a liability. The construction of Interstate 5 and the mall and the ending of train service all contributed to the overall decline in the downtown business district. Graves suggested a switch from general retail to more specialized shops, He pointed out that in order to entice shoppers into the area, it should be cleaned up and renovated. Graves felt that Carlsbad’s climate was perfect for tourism and that the freeway would provide easy access to town. Later in the 70s, a redevelopment plan was organized and implemented.
Industrial development that began in the sixties occurred on the outermost borders of town. In the northeast area of town the South Coast Asphalt Company established a rock quarry on land that contained the El Salto Falls near the Buena Vista Creek, that feeds water into the Buena Vista Lagoon. In the southeast section of town along Palomar Airport Road, Industrial parks were established. Magnetic Technology, which made precision electric motors, became the first company in the Carlsbad Industrial Park. Numerous other companies were established throughout the area, gradually establishing an industrial corridor along Palomar Airport Road. This industrial development contributed greatly to Carlsbad’s financial security and future.
Growing Pains Carlsbad’s territorial growth in the seventies influenced its commercial and residential development then and into the future .The dramatic growth during these three decades contributed to a revolution in lifestyles for Carlsbad residents. Long gone were the days when Carlsbad was a sleepy little agricultural town. Carlsbad was transformed into a tourist, residential and industrial mecca.
In 1964 Rancho La Costa Inc. developed the La Costa Resort, a country club and spa hotel on the eastern end of the Batiquitos Lagoon. This resort was located just southeast of Carlsbad City borders. Within a few short years, a subsidiary of Rancho La Costa Inc., the La Costa Land Company, began development of a 2,500 acre planned community. This development of upscale family homes and condominiums became commonly known as La Costa. Since it was located outside of any incorporated city sphere of influence, the La Costa neighborhood was built and advertised as a resort living development and residents had to shop for basic services such as fire, police, water and schools. The community chose services from several different providers, picking the ones best suited to their needs. Dissatisfaction with this system prompted La Costa residents to initiate annexation talks with the City of Carlsbad in 1971. Residents wanted improved fire and police protection, schools, water and trash service that Carlsbad could provide. Carlsbad was willing to annex La Costa and Carrillo Ranch, even though it would mean hiring more city employees and providing more city services. By adding these two separate land holdings, the city’s geographical size would expand as well as its tax base. Increases would come from tourism revenue, residential and commercial property taxes, and all future land development.
The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCCO), an agency established by the State of California, approved the proposed La Costa and Carrillo Ranch annexations to Carlsbad as long as several requirements were met. The first requirement was a petition requesting annexation to Carlsbad signed by at least twenty-five percent of all registered La Costa voters. After the petition was signed, a public hearing was needed to voice any objections to the annexation. Once the election date was set, approval of annexation would entail fifty percent plus one vote to pass. The last requirement for annexation was that after the election, the City Council needed to pass an ordinance approving annexation of the proposed land.
The annexation of La Costa and Carrillo Ranch, if approved by the voters, would increase Carlsbad by 5,485 acres or 8.5 square miles. The election, which took place in August 1972 with a 65% voter turnout, approved these annexations to Carlsbad with a vote of 44 in favor and 40 against. Once La Costa voters approved the annexation, it was up to the City Council to pass an ordinance accepting the area into the city. La Costa became Carlsbad’s southern most area on October 16, 1972, when annexation documents were filed at the San Diego County Recorder’s office.
Carlsbad continued to grow throughout the 70s and 80s, as bits and pieces of unincorporated county land were gradually annexed to the city. In 1973, LAFCO approved the annexation of 778 acres located near Lake Calavera. 186 acres of the Tootsie K Ranch, established by the Kentner family during World War II, were annexed in 1978 with LAFCO approval. In the same year, LAFCO placed the entire Batiquitos Lagoon and its southern shoreline into Carlsbad’s sphere of influence. This was considered a first step towards annexation of the lagoon. While the neighboring community of Leucadia voiced objections to this step, LAFCO justified their action by stating that Carlsbad’s status, as an incorporated city, would offer better guardianship of the lagoon’s environment and resources. By 1985, Carlsbad had annexed Batiquitos Lagoon, Ponto Beach area, La Costa, Green Valley, land around Palomar Airport and land east of El Camino Real.
After the Land Annexations
While the land size of the city increased because of the annexations, so did population, housing density, and the city workload. Carlsbad needed to hire more employees, purchase more equipment, build more parks, libraries, fire stations, and provide adequate basic services for these newly acquired areas.
One of the first tasks undertaken after the land annexations was to budget funds for the increased workload. Hiring more employees as building inspectors, policemen, firemen, and public work crews was an immediate priority, since the county had handled all of these services. Establishment of fire stations throughout the larger city was necessary. Likewise, the purchase of equipment for the fire stations and public work crews as well as more police cars was all immediate concerns.
A second step after land annexations was drafting changes to the Carlsbad General Plan, to determine the necessary amount of parks, housing, open space and other facilities and services needed for the future. By 1985, two new elements; the Parks and Recreation and Land Use Elements, were added to the General Plan. The Parks and Recreation element established the number of parks and special resource areas needed for the city. It was established that 5 acres of parkland were needed for every 1000 residents. The second new element was Land Use, and it focused on the need to build public facilities before the developers built new residential units. In 1986 the voters approved a Growth Management Plan that set limits on the number of residential units built, reduced residential density, determined that facilities and services must keep pace with growth, designated 40% of city land as open space, and insisted that developers pay their fair share of facilities and services. The Growth Management Plan divided the city into four quadrants. El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Roads were used as the dividing lines for the quadrants. Each quadrant had planning zones, and these zones determined what developers needed to provide before building could begin. Additionally, the Growth Management Plan could not be altered in any way without voter approval.
Issues arising from rapid development
Rapid development of annexed land and loss of open space created citizen complaints ranging from inadequate services in the newly annexed land, to inadequate sewage treatment facilities and the rapid conversion of open space and agricultural land into industrial or residential developments.
A La Costa succession group formed in January 1987, calling themselves the La Costa Town Council. They were frustrated over the La Costa growth management plan, truck traffic on the two-lane Rancho Santa Fe Road, three school districts, and only one representative on City Council. Those who opposed succession pointed out that even though La Costa property contributed greatly to Carlsbad’s annual budget, property taxes did not pay for all the services received. At this time a significant amount of the tax base was coming from north of Palomar Airport Road. Additionally, the definition of “ La Costa” as being all of the area south of Palomar Airport Road and east of the freeway was erroneous. La Costa was only the land developed by the La Costa Land Company, which had sold its remaining undeveloped acres in 1981 to the Daon Corporation. Needless to say, the succession move was fruitless and La Costa remained within Carlsbad City boundaries. Interestingly enough, one major reason the La Costa Land Company sold off their undeveloped land, according to their chairman Allard Roen, was frustration over the construction moratorium that had been in affect since 1977. The Carlsbad City Council placed a moratorium on new building in the city because it lacked sufficient sewage treatment capacity.
Residential encroachment on agricultural land caused an avalanche of complaints from citizens pushing for slow growth. Farmers responded that they could not afford to farm, since it cost more to farm, with labor costs, supplies, water, pollution controls, and property taxes, than they could make on the land. Perry Lamb who owned land in south Carlsbad wrote to the San Diego Coast Regional Commission in 1977 asking if the purpose of preserving agricultural use along the coast was to preserve agriculture or to preserve open space. Lamb’s opinion was that if it was to preserve agriculture, then farmers would need to build greenhouses to produce crops of higher quality in order to make a profit. He pointed out that greenhouses destroyed the look of “open space” just as much as residential development. Allan O. Kelly, whose family arrived in Carlsbad in the 1860s, stated that farming simply didn’t earn enough money to pay for all of the land taxes. He had that he dried farmed for forty years, just breaking even.
For years the Coastal Commission tried to preserve coastal farmland by setting up an Agricultural Improvement Fund. Funded by developer’s fees and administered by the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County, this fund was used for subsidizing and making improvements on agricultural land. After years of pressure from the city, the Coastal Commission finally lifted restrictions on the farmland and gave permission in 1985 to develop the agricultural land from El Camino Real west to the Ocean and from Tamarack south to Batiquitos Lagoon.
Rise of Industry and Commerce
Residential development in Carlsbad during the seventies and eighties was occurring along the city’s northern and southern borders, leaving the mid section along Palomar Airport Road open for industrial and commercial development. Beginning in the 1960s, the land immediately surrounding the airport was restricted through deed covenants for businesses that related to the aircraft industry. Land adjacent to the airport that was zoned agricultural could be used for other industry if the zoning was changed and sewage issues were addressed. Industry was interested in this land since it was vacant, inexpensive at the time, and the airport provided fast service for company travel. International corporations were interested in the Palomar Airport corridor. Mitsui and Co. and Mitsui Fudosan Inc. purchased one half interest in the Palomar Airport Business Park that was constructed in 1975.
Major corporations established businesses inn Carlsbad. Two of these were Burroughs, a maker of circuit boards used in computers and Sargent Industries Stillman Seal Division, a maker of O-rings.
Over a community group’s objection, San Diego Gas and Electric Company expanded the Encina Power Plant. SDG&E received approval from the Carlsbad City Council in March 1976 to construct a fifth generating unit and to build a 400-foot stack. The Community Cause group tried to have the California Supreme Court force the City of Carlsbad to hold an election on the Encina expansion. At the same time, SDG&E was planning on a feasibility study for building a refinery in Marcario Canyon. By November 1976, an agreement of sorts was reached. The Community Cause group dropped their objections to the Encina expansion and SDG&E dropped their plans for a feasibility study in Marcario Canyon. A variety of smaller commercial and industrial enterprises took hold during this period. Morey Boogie Board Company was started in 1975 on Oak Street. The original boogie board was named after Tom Morey. Morey and his partner, Germain Saive, opened their factory with an investment of $250.
In 1977, the multimillion-dollar Car Country Carlsbad was established. This fifty acre site of car dealerships contributed enough sales tax money to equal 25% of the city’s’ share of residential property tax money. Car dealers formerly located in Oceanside joined together to invest and develop the property. The reason behind their investment was simply lack of space in Oceanside. Many of the dealerships were located in several different buildings along what was then known as Hill Street. Traffic and parking made it difficult for dealers to properly show their inventory. By moving to Carlsbad the dealerships increased income, provided an easier shopping experience for consumers, and had a huge impact on Carlsbad’s revenues.
In 1995, The Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute opened on Agua Hedionda Lagoon. As the only Marine Fish Hatchery on the west coast, this 22,000 square foot facility produces more than 350,000 juvenile White Sea bass a year. Funded by recreational sports fishing licenses, this research institute does studies on the effects of food sources, water quality, and water velocity on the growth and performance of fish. This facility, along with other educational facilities such as the Gemological Institute, point to Carlsbad’s growth outside of business for revenue sources.
The golfing industry also gained a major foothold in Carlsbad with Taylor Made and Calloway Golf manufacturers establishing businesses and production plants along the Palomar Airport corridor. At one point, Callaway Golf became Carlsbad’s largest private employer. Development of all types of industries continued along the industrial corridor on Palomar Airport Road throughout the 1990s. Growth in the business industry spurred a rise in hotel, investment, and educational industries. Industry also helped make Carlsbad a tourist destination, as people came to town on business and stayed for pleasure.
Rise of Tourism
Avocado Days that began in the 1920s was Carlsbad’s first effort to attract tourists. The grand opening of the California Carlsbad Mineral Spring Hotel in 1930 helped open the door for tourism by promoting an interest in Carlsbad’s mineral water. Throughout the decades that followed, money from tourism continued to contribute to Carlsbad’s financial stability. The Twin Inns, with its famous chicken dinners, was reported in a variety of travel magazines, even National Geographic. The Royal Palms Hotel, and its famous wedding chapel, where it was rumored Claudette Colbert married, was a destination for many who wanted a vacation by the sea. Tourism took a big leap forward when the annexation of La Costa brought the La Costa Resort with its golfing and tennis championships.
Tourism and Downtown Redevelopment
The decline in the downtown area prompted the City Council to create a redevelopment agency in 1976. Redevelopment slowly converted the business district into a tourist friendly area and tourism boomed in Carlsbad. A redevelopment plan was adopted in 1981 that included closing disreputable bars; moving auto repair shops from key commercial areas to less visible sites; remodeling store fronts, improving traffic circulation; parking and utilities; and attracting upscale motels, vacation resorts, retail shops and restaurants. By 1985 the downtown area had improved sufficiently to warrant the establishment of a Carlsbad Convention and Visitors Bureau. This office was sponsored by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and helped by City funds. In 1988, the first of the redevelopment agency bonds issued raised $12 million for downtown projects. Plans for the bond money included a senior citizens complex, parking lots, a pedestrian promenade along the sea, streetscapes that would widen the streets and new sidewalks, gutters and traffic lights. One of the first efforts to foster interest in the downtown area took place in 1975, when Buddy Storms organized the Village Faire. Originating as a sidewalk sale for a small group of vendors who sold garage sale items downtown the Street Faire slowly grew during subsequent decades. By the 1990s, under the direction of Keith Kennedy, the semi-annual Village Faire was bringing thousands of tourists into town. The Carlsbad Triathlon began in 1981. This race includes a one-mile ocean swim, sixteen-mile bike ride, and a 6.2-mile run and brings athletes from all over the world. Establishment of the Carlsbad 5000 race in 1986 also drew tourists to town. The 5000-meter road race took advantage of the newly redeveloped downtown area, starting at the corner of Jefferson and Grand and racing through town.
In 1988 the City Council approved construction of the 69,000 square foot Village Faire, a shopping center built downtown just a few blocks from the ocean. This shopping center became a cornerstone for the tourism industry in downtown of Carlsbad. The combination of restaurants and shops and live music draws tourists into this shopping area close to their hotels and timeshares.
Tourism expanded outside of the downtown area in 1993, when the flower fields along Interstate 5 were converted from an agricultural endeavor to a business, where growing flowers was just one element. The Carltas Company, the land management division of the Ecke family, secured a loan from the California Coastal Conservancy to establish the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. The Flower Fields, planted with ranunculi, draw 200,000 paying visitors a year to walk among the rows of flowers on sixty acres that overlook the ocean. A 1999 University of California Cooperative Extension Study found that these visitors spend over $2.3 million dollars a year in Carlsbad and over $7.8 million dollars in San Diego County.
Tourists have come to Carlsbad for over 30 years to play golf. The La Costa Resort has two PGA Championship courses that allow golfers to measure their ability against the worlds best. The development of the four star Aviara Golf Course in 1991, which overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon, brought more tourism dollars into the City of Carlsbad. In 1999, Legoland opened just a few miles away from the Flower Fields. Before this Danish owned theme park was built in Carlsbad it faced stiff opposition. NAIL, neighbors against the invasion of Lego, was a community group that opposed Legoland moving to Carlsbad. Arguments against Lego’s construction included increased traffic, a burden on city services, overcrowding at beaches, and a deterioration of lifestyle. Lego’s rebuttal focused on the fact that the 128-acre park would generate less traffic than the Plaza Camino Real Mall, which was located on the same amount of land. In June 1994 citizens agreed to the construction of Lego in Carlsbad with a 57% approval vote. Legoland opened in March of 1999.
The National Association of Music Makers opened the Museum of Making Music in March 2000. The museum with over 450 instruments in it’s collection and five displays that span the years 1890 to 1990, has become a definite draw for those tourists who are musically inclined.
Government meets community needs
While the rapid rise in industry, commerce, tourism and residential development continued for three decades, city government needed to find ways to enhance the quality of life of Carlsbad residents. As early as 1983, the city began a program that provided community garden space for residents who had no space of their own. The garden program was implemented under the direction of Doug Duncanson, with the lifestyle of the apartment dweller or senior citizen in mind.
Knowing of the demand for library services to meet the needs of a growing population, the City Council purchased land in 1987 for a future city library to be located in La Costa. The 64,000 square foot building opened on September 25, 1999 and almost three times larger than the first library built on Elm Avenue in 1967. When the new library was completed, some as a Taj Mahal criticized the 24,000 square foot facility. After two years of negotiations, an agreement was reached between the City of Carlsbad and the Carlsbad Unified School District that facilitated the building of a Senior Center and new School District Offices on the old Pine School site. The city built a 28,300 square foot building that housed both the Senior Center and School District offices. After the building opened in 1989, the city leased the office space to the district for a period of ten years, at which time the school district received condominium ownership of its share of the building.
In 1989, the City finally realized a long-term goal to take over control of the water district. Receiving LAFCO approval in June 1989, the Costa Real Municipal Water District officially became the Carlsbad Municipal Water District on January 1, 1990. The directors of the water district were to stay on as commissioners, however, almost all authority was turned over to the city.
In an effort to meet the needs of marginalized residents, the city implemented a hiring hall for migrant workers. Operating on leased county land, the Carlsbad Hiring Center opened in July 1991. The Center, by providing a meeting place for workers and employers, removed many of the laborers who congregated on street corners.
In 1993 the city also offered support for a Catholic Charities project called La Posada de Guadalupe de Carlsbad. Conceived as a shelter for homeless workers, state grant money was used to build and operate a dormitory where those in need could stay for three months, while attending job workshops and looking for employment.
In response to citizen concerns over the natural environment, the city adopted a Habitat Management Plan in 1999. The intent was to set aside 6,500 acres of natural habitat that would retain the open space necessary for protection of endangered and indigenous species. By including natural corridors that connect one area with another through industrial and residential areas, the Habitat Management Plan hopes to retain a viable and natural lifestyle the endangered species in Carlsbad.
Carlsbad’s growth has effected lifestyle changes for humans as well as animals. Considering the rise in residential, industrial and commercial development in the past thirty years, Carlsbad’s agricultural identity is almost gone. It will be interesting to see what changes the next thirty years will bring to the city.