Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Just Say NO! Photo Ann Gardner.
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Opposition to the One Paseo Final Environmental Report (FEIR) issued by the City of San Diego on August 8 is gaining steam as the Carmel Planning Board prepares to vote on the project September 11. The Board’s vote is advisory to the San Diego Planning Commission and the San Diego City Council; those elected bodies are expected to vote on the development later this Fall. Residents and community spokespersons are outraged that the FEIR prepared by the San Diego Department of Development Services (DDS) dismisses out of hand a smaller alternative even after the FEIR and hundreds of comments, many with detailed analyses, highlighted that traffic gridlock and loss of neighborhood character cannot be mitigated. DDS simply went ahead and issued a “Statement of Overriding Considerations” claiming that the project has benefits that outweigh or “override” the negative environmental consequences.
The “overriding considerations” include:
- Create construction and permanent jobs, (ignoring completely the number of jobs that would be generated by a smaller alternative);
- Revitalize the Carmel Valley economy (the assumption being that the area needs revitalization);
- Protect open space and the natural environment (the logic being if we build a denser project in Carmel Valley we will preserve more open space inland);
- Provide a more balanced housing supply (the Project claims it will provide housing for the development’s workforce);
- Provide quality of life enhancements, i.e.: donating excavated materials to the Regional Beach Sand Project; “up to” over one million dollars for a bicycle trail under I-5 at Carmel Valley Road, installation of a traffic control system on Del Mar Heights Rd.; a Carmel Valley “identity monument “at the intersection of Del Mar Heights and south El Camino Real, medians and cross walks and “up to” $550,000 for “potential” enhanced park amenities at the Recreation Center.
The Report claims that the smaller alternative with 300,000 more sq feet of building than allowed by the Community Plan “is not feasible because it precludes a vertical integrated main street concept envisioned by the proposed project and results in an automobile centered destination.” This claim despite the fact that the FEIR found that the four to eight, even one nine, story buildings and the density were “out of character with the scale of the neighborhood and cannot be mitigated” and created a destination causing a 360% increase in traffic that cannot be mitigated (I-5 ramps, intersections and the Del Mar Heights Bridge over I-5 will be gridlocked at certain times of the day). Residents also commented that Carmel Valley already has an existing mixed use Main Street that could be enhanced by a lower scale/less dense development. The FEIR however insists that One Paseo will provide “upscale retail opportunities lacking in Carmel Valley,” arrogantly dismissing the existing “main street” community with suburban residences, neighborhood parks, schools, a Library, Recreation Center and the Highlands Shopping Center with a soon to be expanded Jimbo’s, the upscale Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas and multiple, popular shopping opportunities. One thing is for sure, if the City approves the proposed One Paseo it will be at the expense of community plans throughout San Diego and community planning boards will be disenfranchised in the eyes of their residents. Just say no to One Paseo!