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Ann Gardner | Via Latina

One Paseo under construction. Photo Ann Gardner.
Click to enlarge.

Those of us traveling east on Del Mar Heights Rd. over I-5 to the Highlands Shopping Center stare at the wooden scaffolding of the One Paseo construction and wonder: “When is it going to stop?” Viewed from El Camino Real, the furthermost buildings backing up to I-5 seem to literally touch the sky. We recall an earlier cartoon in the Sandpiper titled: “It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No it’s One Paseo.” This was before the controversy over the development’s height and density led to a successful referendum drive causing the San Diego City Council to withdraw its earlier approval and support a smaller project.

Could this really be the smaller project, some are asking? Steve Hadley, Director of Community Outreach for San Diego District One Councilmember Barbara Bry, told the Carmel Valley Planning Board at its January meeting that the project meets regularly with community representatives getting assurance the development is meeting the reduced density of the permits.

How much smaller is the project now? The new One Paseo under construction is 279,198 square feet smaller at 1,175, 871 square feet or almost 20% smaller than the originally approved design. Most of the reduction is along the eastern or El Camino Real side of the property, the retail area just south of the sail-topped parking garage, and “corporate” office space. Retail was reduced about 100,000 square feet resulting in a 70% reduction in the originally projected traffic, a major goal of the referendum organizers. Setbacks were also increased, traffic lights synchronized, and the generally one-story heights maintained in that area are meant to create a pedestrian scale atmosphere for the shopping, eating, and neighborhood green space.

There is, however, a disagreement over the provision of a shuttle. The permit and ordinance granting One Paseo is clear about providing a shuttle: “…the Owner/Permittee shall provide and maintain a shuttle vehicle system which includes shuttle service for the project through the Employment Center in Carmel Valley to the Solana Beach Coast Station, arriving and departing at a minimum of 30 minute intervals during AM/PM peak periods…” And the ordinance: “…a long-term commitment to a private shuttle system are essential project features to bridge the gap between existing conditions (lack of public transit service) and the future public transit services.”

At the Board’s January meeting, however, Board members were told that the signed agreement meant the shuttle was for Paseo only. This drew an angry response from one Board member: “We were told it would be a public shuttle. You are telling us it is okay to lie to us.” In what turned out to be a related agenda item the Board heard a report from its Transit Subcommittee that is making contact with numerous transit agencies, including MTD, NCTD and SANDAG, in an effort to bring “future” public transit to the area sooner rather than later. The Sandpiper will bring you up to date on their work in our April edition.


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