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Traffic Jam Scam
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Paramedics may lose critical minutes in One Paseo traffic.
Photo illustration Virginia Lawrence.

Speakers at the November 14 Torrey Pines Community Planning Board meeting, including San Diego City Mayoral candidate Michael Aguirre, reflected the escalating gulf between the City of San Diego and community groups over the controversial One Paseo project proposed for just east of I-5 on Del Mar Heights Road.

Planning Board Chair Dennis Ridz and Board member and former School Board member Dee Rich focused on the failure of the DEIR to analyze the impact of the Project’s traffic on response time for Emergency Medical Service providers from Station 24, just east of the proposed development. Ridz said the DEIR considers EMS response time from the Station to the proposed development which is just blocks away, only. There is no analysis of the impact on response time to residents and schools west of I-5 that are in the same service area, he said. He quoted former Station 24 Fire Captain Stacy Silverwood, “The DEIR seems to address only the needs of One Paseo to the exclusion of every other business, resident and visitor to Carmel Valley.” Rich was visibly angry about the lack of concern for response time to schools where playground and sports related injuries are not uncommon. Bob Fuchs, What Price Main Street, presented a One Paseo traffic analysis and said that the recirculated Alternatives Section which offers only one “feasible” alternative that is still almost three times the allowed zoning ignores the issue.

Aguirre, the only invited Mayoral candidate to attend, got laughs when he remarked “I just happened to be in the neighborhood,” but was serious about the Board’s uphill battle in getting One Paseo reduced to be more in line with the Carmel Valley Community Plan and nearby neighborhoods including Del Mar Heights. “You are house kitties dealing with alley cats,” he said after listening to the Board’s initial discussions on the recirculated Alternatives Section of the DEIR. Use Public Records Act to get more information on dealings between the developer and the City, he suggested, and “stand up for your property rights.”

Diana Scheffler, former Board member, described the differences between One Paseo’s “Main Street” and actual Main Streets which, she said have generally been obliterated by freeways for cars. “Main Streets as we remember them have been replaced by shopping malls,” she noted, adding that the One Paseo project, absent any public transit in the area, will depend on attracting car traffic to patronize their high end stores and restaurants. “It will be busy, but it will not be the Main Street we remember or those now envisioned by Smart Growth advocates who call for mixed use centers connected by public transit,” she said.

Bernie Turgeon, Senior Planner with San Diego Development Services Department and the only City representative to attend the meeting, reported that although the Final Environmental Impact Report is expected to be issued by March and heard by the San Diego Planning Commission in April or May, there may be additional review by the resurrected Planning Department which, according to the new Director, will restore community planning to its rightful place as an important component in the City’s business. Given Ridz’s declaration that the City’s attention to their concerns about One Paseo has been an “abject failure,” this may be good news. In the meantime the Board approved a subcommittee to prepare and submit comments to the recirculated Alternatives Section by the December 10 deadline and urged the some 50 attendees to do likewise.

UPDATE 12/02/13:
Statement of Overriding Considerations - comments from Dennis Ridz, Chair Torrey Pines Community Planning Board  here



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