Carlsbad is at a Crossroads


Sam Chacon

A new hotel is being built right next to the Carlsbad favorite, Board and Brew. The Carlsbad village is one of many areas getting new additions with new locations being built.

The goal of urbanization is to modernize. Progress is one of the most important aspects of a community, given that no community stays the same forever and old trends and methods give way to new ones. In Carlsbad, we always find ourselves thinking about how we can preserve the vintage mood of the Carlsbad Village– a combination of the sounds of rolling waves, cars waiting in traffic and the stoplight endlessly droning “wait” for those of us who prefer to walk the village. It is without a doubt one of the most successfully diversified mood-towns of SoCal, yet contrary to the rest of San Diego county, it appears to never change.

Regardless, development will happen, and cities are going to change. The important thing for Carlsbad is to stray from rash and divisive propositions especially when the people aren’t provided with a satisfactory amount of time or information to decide on a measure, evident in the forever infamous Measure A fiasco. Measure A teaches Carlsbad citizens many important lessons and in the proposed measure’s failure we can see one of the many things that went wrong.

“The Coastal Commission– whose approval will ultimately set the parameters for the project’s scheme–is forbidden from conducting any research on the project’s viability since it was bypassed when the plan was put on public vote,” Lancer Link wrote at the time of the measure’s rise.

This is where the most important mistake of rash propositions, bursting with promises to better Carlsbad’s future, is seen. Questionable decisions, faltering motives, the spreading of misinformation for the gain of one side, have long been the trademarks of politics in Washington DC and political thrillers like “House of Cards.” However, they do not belong at the local level.

Frankly, the effects of local government are woven too close together to afford the kinds of nonsense brought by such behavior.

That is not to say a community should not always take leaps forward at times. On the contrary, we all live in the same town. Be it Matt Hall, Cori Schumacher or your average Carlsbadian, the sentiment is always how can we preserve the beauty of our small village in our big city vibe.

The easiest way to see this would be through the addition of a big attraction like Handel’s to the busiest area of the Village. The lines are always long but the overwhelming majority (80 percent) of 30 people spending their time at the Village on Friday night said that they preferred the addition of the ice cream parlor to Carlsbad’s already thriving community and do not see the busy parlor as a threat to the style of the village.

Hannah Haughton
The Handel’s in Carlsbad is a new ice cream shop. Although it’s a new business they have been busy nonstop any time of day.

Perhaps the most controversial issue regarding development that goes against Carlsbad’s small-town vibe is the pending expansion of the McLellan-Palomar Airport. All residents of Carlsbad are aware of the complaints that living next to the bustling airport create, and yet a new master plan outlining the next 20 years of the airport passed in 2018. It is important to note that the McLellan Aiport is under the jurisdiction of not just the Carlsbad City Council, but the County of San Diego,  which only complicates matters. The proposed changes to the airport include the addition of safety features at each end of the runway, shifting the runway north in order to increase the distance of the runway and the taxiway. The runway would also extend to the east of the airport, toward El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road.

The city is pending several proposals residents can take advantage of in order to alter or oppose the master plan. One would be to add the issue to the March 2020 ballot for all residents to vote on. The city has also announced a 20-year statement of goodwill, encouraging further communication between the board and the residents. Of course, this statement is meaningless if people don’t take advantage of it and even then, it takes pressure for action to come out of these conversations, especially when they go against interests.

Carlsbad has been a hidden gem for all of its existence, arguably until the most recent decade.

The city is now at a crossroads. Recent events have divided us (look no further than the divide of Measure A) and though every city constantly adds new attractions (shown in the opening of Handel’s), the city still has to stay true to its character. While also diligently preparing for the future in as self-aware a manner as possible.

It’s about steering the ship in the right direction, not stopping its trip.