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One-Day Population Explodes for Carlsbad’s Semiannual Street Faire

Everybody is aware of the surging growth in North County. It grew even more on Sunday, May 6, when the city of Carlsbad surged by more than 100,000 people.

The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce held its semiannual Carlsbad Street Faire and more than 105,000 visitors inched their way through the village to shop at and visit more than 1,000 booths and exhibits.

The fair is touted as the largest single-day event in the nation, and if the number of booths and attendance are any measure, I can see why.

The mega shopping day is held the first Sunday in May and November.

Everything from pancake eating contests sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Carlsbad to rock ‘n’ roll music and draft beer courtesy of the Rotary Club of Carlsbad were available at the event, all topped off by ideal weather conditions.

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One of North County’s biggest industry groups took quite a beating during winter’s frost season.

Nearly everyone anticipated a downturn in agriculture product sales but Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, estimates a 3 percent to 5 percent growth rate this year in spite of the terrible frost hits.

The sector produces crops valued at $1.5 billion, with 85 percent of that grown in North County farms.

The leading product in sales is nursery and flower growth, accounting for $990 million.

The Farm Bureau has 1,500 member companies, which employ 5,000 employees.

This is all good news to financial observers.

Another piece of good news for agriculture is the aid packages being made available to more workers.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now providing checks for $450 a week for up to 26 weeks.

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In other North County news:

– Carlsbad continues to be one of the most financially well run cities, but it may have had a little luck this past year. The city fell short by $l million in sales tax estimates but the transient occupancy tax is up by $1 million over projections. The two cancel each other out. The sales tax revenue was projected to be $29 million and the TOT was slated to be $11.8 million, but came in at $12.8 million. Carlsbad is projecting $111.8 million in 2006-2007 general fund revenue on June 30 and $106.l million in expenditures. The new fiscal year shows a projection of $120.4 million with expenses of $114.8 million.

– It seems the city of Oceanside is building everywhere; however, it continues to suffer in the area of resort hotel construction. For decades, the city has tried to build a large resort hotel downtown adjacent to the beach and it is finally coming to realization. The project consists of a three-story hotel, restaurant and four condominiums on a 3.8 acre site. A passing mark is predicted from the California Coastal Commission later this year when the issue will be heard.

– With all that growth, road work is a side effect of the progress in North County. In Carlsbad, developers have to perform their mitigation elements before they begin construction. Sometimes mitigation comes from several projects in the same area. Such is the case of a small piece of roadway on Rancho Santa Fe Road and Olivenhain Road. Three entities, the cities of Encinitas and Carlsbad and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, are all funding the multimillion dollar road junction. Traffic moving down Olivenhain Road goes from three eastbound lanes to one when it reaches Rancho Santa Fe Road. The bottleneck is one of major proportions. The construction is slated to begin this summer and take nine months to complete.

The first $110 million phase of the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort is slated to open in January. The resort is being constructed adjacent to Legoland California on Carlsbad Ranch and the Crossings at Carlsbad municipal golf course. The first phase will include 250 hotel rooms and 30 time-share units with rates ranging from $160 to $200 per night, $100 less than comparable resorts in the area. The project will feature 350 hotel rooms and 350 time-share units in 27 buildings, as well as two restaurants, four swimming pools, tennis courts and conference facilities.


Ted Owen is president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

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