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What is Envision Carlsbad and why did the City initiate it?

Envision Carlsbad is a comprehensive, community-wide visioning process to identify the community’s vision of Carlsbad’s future.  The City of Carlsbad believes community members should be engaged in influencing decisions that affect their future.  Envision Carlsbad will allow community members to identify what is most important to them today and in the future, and the challenges and opportunities to protecting and enhancing quality of life for the next 20 to 30 years.  Please visit the “Why Envision Carlsbad?” page on this website for more information.


How can community members participate in Envision Carlsbad?

The city encourages participation in this exciting opportunity to “envision” the future of Carlsbad!  During the first phase of Envision Carlsbad community members were offered a variety of ways to contribute valuable input.  Envision Carlsbad Phase Two will also offer opportunities for community members to help identify preferred alternatives and approaches to implement the community’s vision. Please visit the “How to Participate” page on this website for more information.


How will community input received during Envision Carlsbad be used?

The community’s input received during the first phase of Envision Carlsbad is reflected in the Carlsbad Community Vision, which was accepted by the City Council in January 2010.  The Carlsbad Community Vision identifies the community’s most important core values for the future, and will be used to guide city operations and decisions. 

The community’s vision provides the guiding principles for Envision Carlsbad Phase 2, which includes aligning the policies and regulations of the General Plan, Local Coastal Program, and Zoning Ordinance with the community’s vision. 

The city will also rely on the community’s vision when making decisions related to the city’s budget, Capital Improvement Program, and other decisions that affect the future of Carlsbad.

Some parts of the community’s vision may be outside the city’s jurisdiction, such as schools or health care.  In those cases, the city will partner with other entities to share the community’s vision and identify ways to work together to achieve it. 


What is the difference between “Envision Carlsbad” and “Imagine Carlsbad”?

“Envision Carlsbad” is a city-initiated process to define the community’s vision for Carlsbad’s future.  The community’s vision will be integrated into important city planning documents such as an update to the General Plan, LCP, and Zoning Ordinance.

 “Imagine Carlsbad” is a grassroots organization created by Carlsbad residents.  Imagine Carlsbad’s website can be found at


What is the difference between “Envision Carlsbad” and “Connecting Community, Place and Spirit”?

“Envision Carlsbad” is described in answer to the question above.  “Connecting Community, Place and Spirit” was a visioning process initiated by the City in 2003.  The ideas and input generated through the many CCPS workshops and discussions will help inform the “Envision Carlsbad” process.


What is a General Plan?

A General Plan defines the community’s vision for the future growth and development of the city.  It is a long-term document with text and diagrams that express the goals, objectives, and policies necessary to guide the community toward achieving its vision over a 20-30 year period.  A General Plan is only successful when it reflects the priorities and values of the community, and is a key tool for influencing quality of life.

City decision-makers (e.g., City Council and Planning Commission), rely on the General Plan as basis for making decisions on matters such as land use, and the provision of public facilities (e.g., roads, parks, fire stations, etc).   It is also a policy document that guides decisions related to protecting, enhancing, and providing those things that the community values most, such as open space, habitat conservation, beach preservation, arts, and protecting the character of the community.

All cities and counties in California are required by law to have a General Plan.


Why is a General Plan required?

State law mandates that each city and county in California adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The purpose is to plan for important community issues such as new growth, housing needs, and environmental protection. Furthermore, the General Plan is used to project future demand for services such as sewer, water, roadways, parks, and emergency services.


What goes into a General Plan?

A General Plan consists of goals, objectives, and policies to achieve the community’s vision.  State law requires that every General Plan, at a minimum, address certain subject categories (called “elements”), which include land use, circulation, housing, conservation of natural resources, open space, noise, and safety.  A General Plan may also address other subjects that are of importance to the community’s future, such as sustainability, community design, and public art.


What is a Zoning Ordinance?

A zoning ordinance is one of the primary tools to implement the city’s goals and policies (i.e. General Plan and Local Coastal Program).  It contains development regulations and standards that govern the use of land, such as where certain types of uses can be located, and the placement, spacing, and sizing of buildings, open spaces and other facilities/structures.


What is a Local Coastal Program?

A Local Coastal Program (LCP) is a tool to guide development within the Coastal Zone, and is intended to ensure public access to and protection of coastal resources consistent with the California Coastal Act.  A LCP consists of policies (like the General Plan) and an implementing ordinance (Zoning Ordinance).  While a LCP reflects the unique characteristics of the community it applies to, regional and statewide interests and concerns must also be addressed.  The topics that a LCP must address are defined by State law (California Coastal Act), and overlap with those in a General Plan and zoning ordinance. 


What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)?

An environmental impact report is a detailed analysis of the environmental effects of a plan or development project. The EIR identifies alternatives to the proposed project and presents ways to reduce or avoid environmental damage. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a general plan is considered a project, thus requiring that an EIR be completed in conjunction with the plan. Community members can provide input at two different phases in the EIR process: in response to the Notice of Preparation (NOP), declaring that an EIR is going to be prepared, and to the Draft EIR itself. Opportunities to participate will be announced on this website as part of Phase 2 in 2009.


What's the best way to get involved?

The city encourages community participation throughout the Envision Carlsbad process. Please visit the How to Participate Web page for details.

Contact Information

Envision Carlsbad
760-602-8560 fax

1635 Faraday Ave.
Carlsbad, CA  92008