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One PASEO Approved: 7 yes 2 no
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Photo Kerry Key
Click to enlarge.

 

On Monday February 23 the San Diego City Council approved the 1.4 million square foot One Paseo project with only two modifications, that the project provide 60 moderate cost housing units instead of an in lieu fee and a traffic management demand system. The vote was 7 to 2 with Council President Sherri Lightner and President Pro Temp Marti Emerald voting no. At first it appeared as if the Council was going in another direction.

Hundreds showed up for the hearing filling Council chambers and three overflow rooms; 600 speaker slips were submitted. Carmel Valley Planning Board and the three neighboring boards; Del Mar and Solana Beach; the Solana Beach School District, and Supervisor Dave Robert’s office spoke of gridlock and loss of community character, urging the Council to adopt a smaller mixed use project. “No to One Paseo” red tee shirts, “No to THIS One Paseo” buttons and “Too Big, Too Much Traffic, and No Downtown Heights” signs stood out. Opposition speakers were almost all passionate long term residents of Carmel Valley. The contrast to the One Paseo supporters in business suits or contractors with prepared paragraphs was clear. The community was out in full force supporting a smaller project that still offered a 60% bonus over current zoning. Kilroy often had to go searching for missing speakers.

After five hours of public testimony President Lightner opened Council deliberations noting that Carmel Valley had a history of working with developers to approve “amazing” projects that were unanimously approved by City Council. She was “sorry it didn’t happen this time…that approval of the project would strike a blow against community planning boards and [encourage] spot development.” She moved to reject the larger project in favor of the smaller alternative. Emerald seconded the motion and Councilmember Myrtle Coyle concurred saying the larger project would create a “traffic sig alert every day [and]…the smaller project is feasible.” Then Councilmember David Alvarez asked if Kilroy would provide moderate cost housing and what about the proposed traffic management systems? The momentum was broken as the rest of the Council, seemingly relieved to find a way to approve the project, followed suit. Even Coyle changed her mind.

What’s next? Earlier Lightner had warned that approval would result in lawsuits [“the Final Environmental Impact Report is fatally flawed”} or even a referendum. One thing is for sure: the community left no stone unturned in presenting their concerns and offering a reasonable alternative. Unfortunately the San Diego City Council turned a deaf ear.

 

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