Give One Paseo a chance

As a former city planner in Del Mar and Encinitas for more than 15 years and longtime Carmel Valley resident, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate numerous projects in terms of their impacts and benefits to our community.  Having studied One Paseo carefully, I do have some reservations about the size and scale of the current design. However, I fundamentally believe that our community has way more to lose if this mixed-use, community-serving project is not approved and the land is instead developed as a single use, office-only alternative. I’ve come to this conclusion by assessing the project based on its environmental, economic, and community/social characteristics.

The environmental component relates primarily to traffic impacts associated with the project. The counter-cyclical nature of the proposed residential, office, and retail/entertainment uses are complementary and (generally) do not additively compound traffic conditions.  Traffic patterns for the residential and office uses are during morning and afternoon peak traffic times; however, they are in effect going in opposite directions. The anchor retail, restaurant, and cultural/entertainment type uses produce traffic surges during lunch, nighttime hours, and on the weekends outside peak traffic hours and when the office buildings are closed.

The economic component relates to the jobs and sales tax revenues generated by range of uses proposed by One Paseo. Added to this are increased property taxes from the sale of residential condominiums and public improvements paid for by the project proponents, Kilroy Realty. With tight city budgets and declining infrastructure, this project will provide revenues and capital improvements to improve our roads and utilities.  In comparison, an office-only alternative provides no real tax revenue stream.

Community character can be defined as maintaining those characteristics of an area that the community values and that provide identity to the community. In communities that have an established identity, community character most often equates to an idea of preservation, a desire to keep the charm and aesthetic of what exists. In the case of One Paseo, we have a truly unique opportunity to actually create our community character with a central “Main Street” core. One Paseo will be unlike anywhere else in San Diego County.

The alternative to One Paseo is not the answer. The alternative to One Paseo is roughly 550,000 square feet of office space. Without One Paseo, we’ll likely get an expansion of the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, plus the Kilroy office development.  Without One Paseo there will be no real economic drivers or public improvements.  Most importantly, without One Paseo there would be no public benefits, community amenities or social component for the community to enjoy as a whole.

As renowned architect and city planner Daniel Burnham once said, “Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir one’s blood…” I encourage my neighbors, city planners and elected officials to be bold, make no little plans, and help create our collective community legacy. One Paseo will undoubtedly have a profound effect on the character of Carmel Valley —whether that effect is positive or negative is a matter of opinion and public debate. With One Paseo, the community will have that core “sense of place” it currently lacks. It would be woefully short-sighted to not find a way to make this project work for the benefit of our community.

Robert Scott, AICP, LEED AP

Robert Scott, AICP, LEED AP is an award-winning land use planner and LEED for Homes Green Rater who founded his consulting business in 2006. He previously served as a senior planner for the cities of Del Mar and Encinitas. He can be reached at (858) 480-1098 or by visiting

Related posts:

  1. Give One Paseo the green light
  2. One Paseo will bring many benefits to community
  3. Opinion/Letters to the Editor: One Paseo would be terrific community asset, give economy a boost
  4. One Paseo mitigation plans compensate for increase in traffic
  5. Del Mar expresses concerns about One Paseo

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Posted by Staff on Apr 18, 2013. Filed under Letters, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Comments for “Give One Paseo a chance”

  1. Dave Wojtkowski

    Good column – brings up some good points. Seems to give in to Kilroys implied threat of “do it our way or else” rather than what the lot was designed for… when Kilroy bought it.

    When I read letters like this though I have to wonder if Mr. Scott is paid in any way by Kilroy? Or if he lives in Carmel Valley? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but full disclosure on this passionate subject is a prerequisite.

    • Hello Dave. Bob Scott here. Thanks for your feedback. No – I am not on Kilroy’s payroll. Yes – I’ve owned and lived in Carmel Valley since 2003. I do support mixed use development with increased densities and community character and neighborhood protections. I do support the Main Street concept albeit I do think the current design still needs work. I come from a more centrist, solution-based approach and I think we as a community can get a true town center (instead of a glorified strip mall) out of this deal if we work with Kilroy in a more collaborative fashion. Stay tuned for my next entry in this community dialogue…

  2. jeffroe

    The alternative is what the project has been approved for…Not the 1.5 million square feet they are asking for.Come on now don’t play all of us as stupid…This gigantic project will ruin what CV still has left..Build it and you will be part of traffic congestion the likes of none of us have seen..It’s not about Main Street it’s about the almighty dollar..You see Kilroy bought the land well over what its worth for them to profit. The only way they make money is to triple the size of what they legally can develop.To boot I bet they have been stuffing the pockets of local council people in order to persuade votes. Stand up folks and fight against this one if you truly love Carmel Valley

  3. KJRohman

    I have been following this for some time and agree with Mr. Scott. The last thing I want is another stand alone office building. It’s a beautiful parcel of land that can be something really special and unique for my family enjoy. I go to the highlands, but it is by no means a place I want to spend hours with my kids and friends. And adding more stuff there won’t change that. In contrast, I think One Paseo is a great idea and its size and design just ensures that we get better stores and restaurants – and yup, a real main street.

  4. neighbor

    I do NOT agree, why would our community put our trust into a huge Los Angeles based development company??. I expect to see Mario Lopez there soon with his TV show from the Grove.. NO WAY! There is No mention of any kind of community caring in any pages of the website dedicated to this project. Neighbors, Do Not trust kilroy! This project is to big for the neighborhood!! Only realtors seem to care about over building! SAY NO!

  5. neighbor

    seriously, a real main street??? Like at Disneyland? No way!

  6. Howard Bear

    I thoroughly agree with Mr Scott’s analysis. Arguments that Kilroy is going to profit from this change in zoning miss the point. Of course they profit! If the project is a failure, they will not succeed — their interests are aligned with ours in many ways. We have wonderful schools and decent parks in our community. We are woefully undersupplied with thoughtful retail, dining, and entertainment options. The instant success of the Del Mar Highland’s upgrade demonstrates the pent up demand for this type of project. Stop the NIMBY’s and lets go San Diego and Carmel Valley!

  7. David Wojtkowski

    Mr. Bear – I think Kilroy of course should make a profit – that’s why they are in the business. The question comes down to at what cost? There is no question they could make a profit by scaling down the business into what it is zoned for, what the voters approved, when they bought it. But instead, Kilroy says that amount of profit isn’t good enough – they either threaten us with ugly commercial office buildings similar to the ones on ECR now or build this huge monstrosity that is 3 times bigger than the one they bargained for when they bought the property (and undoubtedly did all sorts of financial analysis on). Their interested are ONLY in making a profit – that is what people are pointing out – and that’s okay too we should just realize that when considering the project. What will happen to our wonderful schools and parks in the community when One Paseo adds several more thousand people to that area?

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