June 2012 home page

Kilroy PlazA 
A 2-part Spread

One Paseo Opposition Swells  |  It’s a Mall!


It’s a Mall!
Diana Scheffler | Boquita Drive


Paseo petition drive at the Highlands. Photo Art Olson








The One Paseo project in Carmel Valley appeals to the urban planner in each of us to approve its dense, walkable design as an urban “village”. San Diego’s General Plan, and master plans around the country, call for the development of villages within cities as a solution to sprawl.

To quote from the General Plan, “The City of Villages strategy is to focus growth into mixed-use activity centers that are pedestrian-friendly, centers of community, and linked to the regional transit system.” (City of San Diego General Plan, March 2008, LU-6). The idea, of course, is that dense use provides ridership for transit, and transit weans riders away from dependence on the automobile, doing good all around.

Well, One Paseo is not a village, but a mall. It is not linked to any regional transit system – in fact there is no regional transit system. One Paseo is a self-sufficient island of density, turned in upon itself, assuming that visitors will come by car. It will allow those fortunate enough to live within its boundaries the opportunity to walk to the various amenities provided. It will also generate a volume of traffic never foreseen in the General Plan, not to mention the Carmel Valley Community Plan, or the reasonable expectations of the people who have settled into the planned community of Carmel Valley, and the people all around in the neighboring communities of Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and beyond.

The City of Villages strategy is a wonderful ideal. We have the seeds of villages already in our suburban community of Torrey Pines and Carmel Valley: the Del Mar Highlands Town Center and the Del Mar Heights Village are two examples. These centers are zoned already for mixed use, but are not fully developed. DMHTC is zoned for many uses, including “apartments”, with a height limit of 45 feet, and a floor-area ratio (FAR) of .75. DMHV is also zoned for multiple dwelling units, with the same limitations for height and FAR.

The One Paseo site is currently zoned for office use, with no height limit, but a FAR of .5. The Kilroy project proposes that this be changed to a height limit of 200 feet and a FAR of 2.00.

I submit that the better planning decision would be to limit the One Paseo project to the same measures as these two nearby budding villages. This would integrate the project into its surroundings without overwhelming them, and allow for development over time of all three villages, and the transportation system that should link them. That would be a City of Villages.


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