John Matthews | Condesa Drive
I live in Del Mar Heights politically in San Diego, yet geographically in Del Mar. I see One Paseo/Main Street as a monstrosity across the freeway. Despite the efforts of Carmel Valley residents to raise community awareness of the impact of such a large project, the developer keeps pounding away at the Development Services staff to approve the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The approval appears to have again been delayed another month (now expected in April). All of this has been done behind closed doors without the nearby communities being made aware of the nature of the discussions taking place. What are the reasons why the DEIR is not being approved? Why is there no discussion with the residents of Del Mar Heights or Carmel Valley as to why the DEIR is not approved? The only thing we know is that the developer has shown no interest in modifying or reducing its project. There has been no effort to involve the community in meaningful dialogue—especially to define how much of a negative impact this proposed project would have if allowed to fit within the proposed parameters (1.85 million sq. ft. building area vs. the 500,000 sq. ft. of current entitlement).
When the DEIR gets released, a very complicated document will have to be responded to by interested parties in a very short period of time. There is no guarantee that the issues raised will be responded to on the basis of impacts to the community, and with the serious financial condition of San Diego and the strong mayor form of government controlling the activities of City staff, it raises the fear (concern) that decisions will be made on the basis of “overriding considerations” (e.g., increased permit fees and property taxes), and that community plans, not only of Carmel Valley, but also of nearby Del Mar and Solana Beach, will be thrown under the bus.
As it relates to these neighboring cities, it brings to mind what happened recently with the Flower Hill Promenade, One Paseo will be creating many times the additional impact. There’s no evidence that the City of San Diego cares about what the spillover effects of One Paseo might be on neighboring communities. As an almost geographical resident of Del Mar, I really wonder what the respective City Councils of Del Mar and Solana Beach should be doing. Wouldn’t you think a proactive discussion through regional agencies to discuss these issues of spillover from one city to another—ensuring that the negative impacts are dealt with in an open and equitable manner be appropriate? Being passive, sitting back, and waiting for a review of the DEIR does not seem to be an effective course of action, as Flower Hill Promenade can be used as an example. The clandestine process taking place, at San Diego City Hall, with One Paseo, seems to be an indication that the course of a strong mayor form of government in San Diego favors commercial developers interests at the expense of the community interests.