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EDITORIAL: Small Is Good

The San Diego Planning Department states on its website: “The recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process, and are highly regarded by the City Council and staff.

The Sandpiper hopes the September 11th recommendation by the Carmel Valley Planning Board to reject the three-times oversized One Paseo Project east of I-5 on Del Mar Heights Road and support a smaller alternative is “highly regarded” by the City of San Diego as promised in their policies. As you read this edition of the Sandpiper, the San Diego Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the project in downtown San Diego where the developer hopes to convince the City to set aside the approved community plan in favor of significantly greater density cloaked as “smart growth.”

Just days after hundreds of residents showed up at an earlier Carmel Valley meeting to voice their concerns about the unmitigated heights, density and traffic generating impacts documented in the One Paseo Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), the UT reported that city staff was praising the project as a “premier” example of smart growth. The planners recommended that the City Council approve the project because when denser projects get built along existing transportation corridors, they provide “a unique opportunity …for a compact mixed-use village in an already urbanized area.” But that praise is out of sync with the low scale, suburban Carmel Valley neighborhood environment where the only transportation corridor is an already overburdened I-5 and ignores City Policy that recognizes that “recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process and are highly regarded by the City Council and staff.”

We hope this is true. We hope the San Diego Planning Commission and the City Council will ask the developer to go back to the smaller Project Alternative and seriously consider the best way to reduce the negative impacts of the current proposal without giving up the mixed use, main street concept. It would also help if the property owner on each side of El Camino Real (Del Mar Highlands and Kilroy Realty) viewed both sides of El Camino Real as one Main Street for the community rather than two isolated competitors. A community based organization opposing the current larger proposal, What Price Main Street, has worked hard to push for the smaller mixed use alternative which they consider a win-win for the developer and the community. We do too and hope that San Diego will give the Carmel Valley Planning Board’s recommendation “high regard.”



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