The City of Carlsbad: Pioneering Affordable Housing Since 1993

   Glen Ridge Apartments  in Carlsbad, built by Chelsea Investment Corp.

Glen Ridge Apartments in Carlsbad, built by Chelsea Investment Corp.

Undoubtedly, it played to mixed reviews some 20 years ago when Carlsbad mandated an Inclusionary Housing Program to prospective developers. But surely the building industry agreed with the City that a plan was needed to satisfy the accelerating demand for affordable housing.

“When the need for affordable housing began to grow in the early 1990s, the City of Carlsbad got creative,” said Debbie Fountain, who has facilitated the creation of quality affordable housing in Carlsbad since 1993. “Coming out of the recession of the early ‘90s, the City partnered with the private sector and the inclusionary housing ordinance became part of the process in doing business with the City.”

   Debbie Fountain has facilitated the creation of quality affordable housing in Carlsbad since 1993.


Debbie Fountain has facilitated the creation of quality affordable housing in Carlsbad since 1993.

Fountain, who now serves as Carlsbad’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Director, points to the first project out of that pipeline, a 344-unit apartment community built for low income households in Aviara.

“It looks as good today as it did the day it was ready for occupancy in 1996,” says Fountain.

Carlsbad’s strong partnership with the private sector, both for-profit and non-profit housing developers, has been a model for other municipalities grappling with the need for affordable housing.

How do they do it?

“We have been successful because we work each project on a case-by-case basis,” said Fountain. “We don’t have simply one way to produce the housing or any one way to structure a deal. We work with developers to build the product type that best fits with the remainder of the market rate development.”

Here at Chelsea Investment Corporation, we’re proud of our history with the City of Carlsbad, starting with Mariposa Apartments in 2005. To date, our partnerships with market rate developers account for about 16% of Carlsbad’s total inventory of housing for lower income households.

“Chelsea has been an extremely good partner for those developers, and has been very responsive to the City in creating housing that best meets the needs of the low income households of Carlsbad,” said Fountain. “The housing produced by Chelsea is very well-managed and well-maintained. The City has always been pleased with the developments they own and manage.”

In addition to Mariposa Apartments in the Calavera Hills neighborhood, our work in Carlsbad includes Hunter’s Pointe Apartments in La Costa and Glen Ridge Apartments in Robertson Ranch. Currently, we are developing a 64-unit Quarry Creek apartment community, where construction is expected to begin in September.

  The 168 unit  Hunter's Pointe  project was developed to satisfy the affordable housing requirement of the La Costa Master Planned Community in Carlsbad, California.

The 168 unit Hunter's Pointe project was developed to satisfy the affordable housing requirement of the La Costa Master Planned Community in Carlsbad, California.

Carlsbad has set a high standard for the implementation of desirable communities that meet the needs of all residents, and advocates like Debbie Fountain help make it a positive experience for everyone involved. Even after 23 years in the business, she retains her passion for this impactful work.

“Providing affordable housing not only meets the needs of low income families but it helps the overall community to be healthier, too,” says Fountain. “Helping to provide permanent affordable shelter for our low income families brings me great joy.”

Click HERE for more information on the City of Carlsbad’s Inclusionary Housing Program.