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Carlsbad Housing Limit Proposed : Citizens Groups Seek to Put Measure on '86 Ballot

December 18, 1985|JENIFER WARREN | Times Staff Writer

CARLSBAD — Charging the City Council with triggering an "avalanche of growth" that is eroding the quality of life here, two citizens groups Tuesday announced plans to sponsor an initiative seeking to limit the number of homes that could be built in the city each year.

The measure, modeled after similar initiatives passed in Thousand Oaks, San Luis Obispo and Camarillo, would allow the construction of no more than 1,000 housing units in 1987, 750 in 1988 and 500 each year thereafter, through 1996. Exempt from the limits would be housing for senior citizens and low-income people, and also remodeling projects and construction to replace damaged homes.

"The pro-growth majority on the City Council has been approving new housing at an extravagant rate and has been unable or unwilling to provide essential services to match the growth," said Kelly Irving, president of the Assn. of Carlsbad Taxpayers, one of the measure's sponsors.

"Slowing growth . . . will provide a breathing spell so city services can catch up with the too-much, too-fast residential growth now saddled on the city."

Concerned Citizens is the other group, led by Nelson Aldrich. The two groups said they would begin circulating petitions to qualify the measure for the November, 1986, ballot early next year.

Councilman Mark Pettine, perhaps the most vigilant slow-growth advocate on the council, praised the measure's architects as "being on the right track" but declined to comment on the initiative until he has studied it.

Councilman Richard Chick, however, said: "The history of putting a cap on units has shown it to not be a successful solution. Restricting development stifles the business community. And since the passage of Proposition 13, we've relied on development fees to finance public facilities. If we lose that, we won't have the money for roadways, parks and other things we need."

But supporters of the growth initiative maintain that despite the rapid pace of residential development over the last five years, deficiencies in schools, roads and police and fire protection exist in Carlsbad.

Tuesday's announcement comes just a week after the City Council approved guidelines that will reduce allowable housing densities throughout Carlsbad and require a periodic review of development master plans. The initiative's sponsors called that action encouraging, but noted that there is no guarantee the guidelines will be enforced.

In the last four years, the City Council has approved 12,540 new residential units. In the last three months, 2,000 new homes have been approved for La Costa, prompting residents of that area to form a committee to lobby the council on growth issues.

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