Open Spaces in Carlsbad


Rolling hills, miles of walking trails, shimmering lagoons – these beautiful open spaces give residents a break from their daily routines and attract visitors year round. The City of Carlsbad has made a strong commitment to preserving open space to ensure an excellent quality of life for our residents. In 1986 residents voted to approve the Growth Management Plan, which ensures ample land will be set aside as permanent open space. Current projections are that when all the major new development in the city is complete, at least 38 percent of the city will be open space

The City of Carlsbad is recognized as having some of the highest standards for open space in the entire region.
When all the major new development in the city is complete, the city will remain nearly 40 percent open space (the equivalent to almost eight times the size of Balboa Park).

Although cities use different methods to calculate open space, it’s safe to say Carlsbad has committed to set aside significantly more open space than our neighboring cities,
more than double in some cases: Encinitas (23 percent), San Marcos (14 percent), Vista (12 percent) and Oceanside (18 percent).
Nearly 80 percent of the existing preserved open space in Carlsbad is “natural open space,” large undeveloped areas with nature trails and areas for sensitive plants and animals.
Carlsbad is the only North County city with an approved Habitat Management Plan, which is a 50-year comprehensive biological approach to preserving natural land for plant and animal species.
Under the updated General Plan, Carlsbad will have more open space in the future than we have today, and we’ll exceed the required amount of parkland by 50 acres.
For the past quarter of a century, proper planning and protection of the city’s open space resources have been of vital concern to Carlsbad. Some of the major planning and policy efforts to protect open space in Carlsbad include:
Passage of the Growth Management Plan in 1986 (Proposition E), which placed growth limits on housing and required that public facilities, like libraries, roads and parks, including open space, be provided to keep pace with new growth
Adoption of the Open Space and Conservation Resource Management Plan in 1992, which called for development of a comprehensive open space system
Passage of Proposition C in 2002, authorizing the City Council to spend more than $1 million to acquire open space and build trails
Approval of the Habitat Management Plan in 2004, which establishes an open space preserve system to protect sensitive plant and animal habitats
Acceptance of Proposition C Open Space and Trails Ad Hoc Committee report in 2007, which established a prioritized list of potential property acquisitions for open space protection and trail linkages
Allocation of approximately $5 million in 2012 for open space acquisition and trail projects


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