Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Carmel Valley Planning Board rejects proposed 1.4 million sq foot One Paseo project, suggests applicant come back with a smaller mixed-use project in keeping with Community Plan.
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We are down to the wire in the battle between the proposed One Paseo project and the Carmel Valley community; the San Diego City Council is scheduled to make a decision on February 23 at a hearing downtown. The downtown location was a disappointment to many in North County but What Price Main Street, a coalition of over 5,000 community residents opposing the project size, has set the tone: “While we are disappointed that the City Council meeting is being held downtown, we sincerely appreciate the efforts of Council President Lightner and her staff to locate it in Carmel Valley. At this point, we are focused on turning out as many WPMS members as possible.”
Del Mar City Council members will also be there. On January 5, the Council voted unanimously to voice their concerns with the project and urged San Diego “to continue working with the applicants and the local planning groups to achieve a viable main-street concept that achieves project goals with significantly reduced community impacts.” Mayor Al Corti emphasized that the reduced-size mixed-use alternative cited in the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) would still “give the developer all the rights allowed by the planning and zoning in place when the property was purchased, and then some.” A copy of the letter can be found on www.delmarsandpiper.org .
The identified unmitigated impacts on traffic and community character and the integrity of San Diego’s community planning values are at issue in this battle. The One Paseo FEIR is clear that traffic caused by the project and the impact of its density, bulk and scale on nearby neighborhoods cannot be overlooked. Walkers, bicyclists, even drivers used to one and two story developments, wide landscaped setbacks and moderate traffic will be crammed up against as high as 170 foot glistening glass office buildings and stuck bumper to bumper. The other big issue: if One Paseo is built what happens to San Diego’s commitment to the communities it serves, to the elected Community Planning Boards that have been assured a voice in their Community Plans and any proposed changes. “(The General Plan) does not change land use designations or zoning on individual properties but rather provides policy direction for future community plan updates,” City of San Diego Planning Department.
Kilroy Realty ignored this policy and proposed, first, a project four times bigger and denser than allowed and then reduced the project to three times allowed zoning, a common game played by developers who hope communities and cities will get sucked in by the “reduction.” But as asked by Diana Sheffler, Del Mar Heights resident and a spokesperson for Mitigate One Paseo, a group of residents west of I-5: “How much amendment is too much? Can a community’s desire to shape the way it evolves be thrown aside for the sake of developing a more financially lucrative project? Residents of Carmel Valley have come face-to-face with these questions and will soon learn what San Diego’s leaders deem to be most important: supporting the planning process they put into place and frequently advocate for, or enacting such sweeping amendments that they undermine the very purpose of establishing guiding plans in the first place.” Diana’s full commentary, printed in the San Diego Transcript January 16 can be read on www.delmarsandpiper.org .
Learn more and get involved by going to www.whatpricemainstreet.com .
The Carmel Valley Planning Board voted 11 to 2 to reject the project in favor of a smaller footprint.