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News Updates

Village and Barrio Master Plan Approved

The Carlsbad City Council has voted to approve a new plan for the Village and Barrio, two of Carlsbad’s oldest neighborhoods. Here’s what is different about the new plan and what the community can expect, now that the plan has been approved. 

At a Glance

  • The city has been working on an updated master plan for the historic Village and Barrio areas since 2013.
  • The plan establishes a vision for future development and land uses in these two neighborhoods over the next 20 years.
  • This is the first master plan that includes both the Village and Barrio neighborhoods. The city wanted to include both to enhance connectivity between the two neighborhoods.
  • The latest draft was released for review and comment in January 2018.
  • The new rules will go into effect 30 days following the plan’s adoption, which is scheduled for July 24, except for parts of the Village that are in the coastal zone. Those will require Coastal Commission approval. 

About the New Plan

The new plan focuses on enhancing neighborhood character, public spaces and ways to get around the Village and Barrio, based on ideas gathered from the community starting in September 2014. Hundreds of community members participated in hands-on design sessions, an online forum, technical sessions and public meetings. Here’s a summary of what’s included in the new plan:  

Building Heights

  • No change to the maximum building height in the Village of 45 feet, but imposes limits on roof protrusions and the enclosed area of fourth stories. 

Design Standards

  • Revises existing Village standards and design guidelines so they are easier to understand and have more “teeth,” meaning city staff and decision-makers can more easily ensure proposed projects are consistent with the community’s character. 

Project Approvals and Implementation

  • Requires applicants for large projects in the Village to go to City Council for final approval.
  • Provides an implementation plan and identifies timing and funding sources for public improvements, parking management and other actions. 


  • Incorporates findings from the city’s final Village, Barrio and Beach Area Parking Management Plan that was accepted by City Council in September 2017.
  • Includes strategies to manage streets and parking lots that improve parking availability and overall mobility.
  • Establishes parking requirements that are appropriate for a small downtown and compact, walkable community.  

Mobility and Connectivity

  • Focuses on alternatives to traveling by car, such as walking and biking.
  • Encourages street and sidewalk improvements west of Carlsbad Boulevard, benefitting drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Promotes the idea of tunneling beneath Interstate 5 to connect Grand Avenue to the east side of the freeway.
  • Embraces emerging transportation choices, such as a shuttle system and ride sharing.
  • Envisions part of Grand Avenue becoming a pedestrian-friendly promenade.
  • Establishes standards for public plazas at key Village intersections.
  • Anticipates trenching of the railroad tracks through the Village and Barrio to enhance safety and create better connections between the beach and the neighborhoods. 

Safety and Beautification

  • Recommends more crosswalks, trees and pedestrian-scaled lighting along streets.
  • Focuses on traffic safety improvements in the Barrio.
  • Advocates public art and cultural activities throughout the master plan area. 

Next Steps

Now that City Council has approved the plan, city staff will proceed with plan implementation as follows:

  • Adoption of the ordinances associated with the plan (currently scheduled for July 24, 2018). 
  • For portions of the Barrio and Village in the Coastal Zone, the master plan will require approval by the California Coastal Commission before it is effective in the Coastal Zone. The Coastal Commission’s review is separate from the city review process and will take approximately 6-12 months to complete.
  • For portions of the master plan not in the Coastal Zone, Coastal Commission approval is not required, and plan provisions will take effect approximately 30 days after adoption of the ordinances associated with the plan.
  • The Village and Barrio Master Plan will replace the Carlsbad Village Master Plan and Design Manual, which was adopted in 1996 and has been revised periodically since, most recently in 2017. 


  • The city released the first draft of the Village and Barrio Master Plan in November 2015. The plan was then revised based on input, and a second draft was released in April 2016.
  • Additional community input received in July and October 2016 has helped to guide the latest, third draft which was released for comment in early January 2018. 
  • City staff received approximately 170 comments on the draft plan since its January 2018 release. 

For more information

July 17, 2018