Diana Scheffler | Boquita Drive
Graphics Virginia Lawrence
A standing room only crowd of over 500 people attended the January 24 meeting of the Carmel Valley Planning Board to see a “reduced” version of the controversial One Paseo Project proposed at Del Mar Heights Rd. and El Camino Real, just east of I-5. The project is still three times the allowed zoning, and Planning Board members, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, 3rd District County Supervisor Dave Roberts and many in the audience voiced their continuing concerns. “It’s still too big,” was the message. Mayor Filner made it clear that the Community Plan is a “contract” with the community which this proposal violates.
Project sponsor Kilroy Realty has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report, required by California law when a developer wants to loosen established planning restrictions at the risk of harming the environment. The Report revealed many impacts, but one causing the most discussion is the lack of public transportation and the effect on local traffic. An increase of almost 23,000 average automobile trips per day was projected from Mango Drive east, with potential traffic delays of more than 15 minutes at various intersections. Current ADT (average daily trip) is about 6,500. All of us who use Del Mar Heights Road know that there are already delays.
The law also requires a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), making public all the responses made to the Draft, and demonstrating how the developer will mitigate the environmental impacts identified. Kilroy has indicated they will release the FEIR as required, but not yet. They assure us that the slight reduction to the project, expanding the existing allowance of .5M square feet to 1.4M square feet instead of 1.8M square feet, will result in traffic delays of no more than one minute. They say they do not intend to update the independent traffic analysis. I wonder why.
What’s next? Will the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board (CVCPB), as the only official local body consulted, consider the potential impact on the whole area from Solana Beach to Del Mar, the Torrey Pines Community and other neighboring communities? Will they make any recommendation in the absence of a new independent traffic analysis or of the legally required FEIR? Will the City’s Department of Development Services step up to its role as “lead agency” in implementing California’s environmental law and require that the FEIR be published with enough time for consumption by the public before hearings take place? Will the Mayor, an advocate for communities, exercise his influence? Will the City’s Planning Commission respect the CVCPB’s recommendation? Will the City Council take the advice of the Planning Commission?
Nearby residents and communities must continue to speak out, and write, about One Paseo’s serious flaws. This is a case of a big developer and big money working against a community’s best interests and against good planning principles. Developers leave room for compromise, so this is just part of the game. Kilroy is using its vast PR resources to gain community support. Local support is not necessary for passage, but would bolster Kilroy’s case before the City Planning Commission and the City Council. If we sit by and let it happen, it will.