Bob Fuchs | Newcrest Point, Carmel Valley
The One Paseo project found seemingly common ground across party lines with candidates seeking to represent Carmel Valley and Del Mar Heights in the recent election. Most said that the proposed project was “too big for Carmel Valley” and that critical questions relating to traffic needed to be answered. Others said they would not support any new project requiring a change in the Community Plan that was not endorsed by local community planning boards. (No community planning board in the area has endorsed the proposed project!)
Internal documents from San Diego’s Development Services Department show that in 2009, City staff recommended that “required technical studies be provided early in the process as a staff recommendation for a less intense land use concept and alternative land use designation could result if the proposal is found to have undesirable impacts on the community.” This recommendation, which was ignored by the developer, suggests that acceptable impact levels should be determined first-- before designing a project to accommodate those limits.
Important Questions re: Traffic:
- What is the estimated traffic projected for the Community Plan area when the remaining, already-approved projects are constructed?
- How much traffic would be generated when One Paseo’s additional proposed entitlements are built?
- In plain language, what would be the experience for the 80% of the workforce commuting outside the community if “Level of Service F” (i.e., exceeding a road’s carrying capacity and deemed unacceptable by City policy) are projected to occur due to these additional entitlements?
One would think that answers to these simple questions could be found in the developer’s 4,500-page Draft Environmental Impact Report issued in March 2012. Alas, contrary to the requirements of the City’s published traffic study manual, the traffic study in the DEIR appears carefully framed to avoid analysis of these scenarios and fogged over traffic issues in general.
Now the developer is again holding public meetings indicating it will remove the hotel and small amounts of commercial space from the proposed project. The reductions appear to reduce traffic generated by the project by about 12%. The original proposal would have generated more than 270% increase in traffic over the current entitlement. The unanswered questions above remain critical in evaluating whether this token reduction is sufficient.
Hopefully, DSD will require accurate answers to straightforward questions in the Final EIR so a reasonable alternative can be evaluated and endorsed by the local community planning boards before the project goes to San Diego City Council vote.