One Paseo PR – Lipstick on a Pig

I was excited to read that Trader Joe’s has pulled out of the One Paseo project, and will open in The Village at Pacific Highlands. Residents of Pacific Highlands Ranch have long yearned for shopping options closer to their home, and now they are lucky to be getting what they want.

One Paseo has long claimed that it is giving Carmel Valley “the Main Street it really wants!”  But its ads bear little resemblance to reality, just like Kilroy’s slick presentations at Carmel Valley Planning Board (CVPB) meetings.  Indeed, in speaking to residents in the neighborhood closest to the project site (my own neighborhood of Alta Mar and other developments north across Del Mar Heights Rd.), I have not found a single supporter of the gargantuan mixed-use project (complete with office complex and UTC-style multistory condos).  Many neighbors, distracted by the buzz about a possible Trader Joe’s, did not realize that the proposed project (even at its “reduced” size) would be nearly five times the size of the Del Mar Highlands Shopping Center.  Many were misled by the ads One Paseo ran showing families holding hands as they played in a green space. They had no idea that the green spaces would be little lawns surrounded by multistory office buildings, more dense than UTC.

As we have learned more, we have been especially alarmed about the traffic impacts that the project will have in Carmel Valley.  While Kilroy has pledged to build a signal-synchronizing traffic mitigation system, it is modeled after one in San Marcos which does not actually work when there is traffic.  We are also disgusted by a plan to “mitigate” traffic by having two northbound left-turn lanes at High Bluff. This dangerous idea will dump would-be speeders off of Del Mar Heights Road, into our neighborhood, and in front of Solana Highlands Elementary School.

When One Paseo reps gave their presentation at the Aug. 8 CVPB meeting, they acted as if the staunch opposition to their project did not exist.  Admitting that traffic would be slowed dramatically, but wanting to spin it positively, Kilroy’s team showed drawings of beautiful trees that would be planted on Del Mar Heights Rd. to improve “the experience of the driver.” They noted that currently we try to get “from Point A to Point B” as fast as we can in Carmel Valley, but that the trees would help us to slow down and enjoy the scenery!  They also showed pictures of little green spaces they would put on the outside of One Paseo, and made fanciful analogies with the Champs Elysées and the boulevards of Barcelona.  Some at the meeting commented that no one will use these “micro-parks,” while others said that it was the height of ridiculousness to pretend that One Paseo will turn Del Mar Heights Rd. into a Parisian boulevard. It is no wonder that so many people have been using the phrase “Lipstick on a Pig” to describe Kilroy’s approach.

I have encouraged my neighbors to go to CVPB meetings, educate themselves and voice their opinions.  But they have each returned home infuriated by the PR campaigns they have witnessed there.  As one neighbor asked me after the meeting, “Does Kilroy really believe that Carmel Valley residents are that stupid?”

Alyssa Sepinwall, Carmel Valley

Related posts:

  1. Keep One Paseo within allowed zoning
  2. Trader Joe’s no longer part of current Carmel Valley One Paseo plan
  3. One Paseo should meet ‘everyday neighborhood needs’
  4. Carmel Valley planning board to discuss One Paseo project Feb. 27
  5. Kilroy has been responsible; One Paseo will be wonderful

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Posted by Staff on Oct 11, 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.

3 Comments for “One Paseo PR – Lipstick on a Pig”

  1. Paula Nguyen

    I remember you speaking at the meeting in August and hearing you say you teach at San Marcos. I am shocked to see a San Marcos PROFESSOR blatantly lie about a project. Did you really talk to every person in those neighborhoods you listed? I suppose I could say everyone around the middle school supports One Paseo simply because I talked to a few of my neighbors. Try walking past your driveway!! I assume you have a PhD since you are a professor so I’m surprised you failed to do any research on traffic. You conveniently neglected the meeting where traffic experts (unbiased) from the city spent a couple hours explaining how the traffic impacts would be mitigated. Don’t you hate it when facts get in the way? I mean this is so bad that it’s laughable.

  2. Alyssa Sepinwall

    Hello Paula, I’m glad you were at the meeting with the traffic engineers last March. I was there too, but I’m surprised you didn’t note the critical questions from the board and the audience about the “unbiased” perspectives of the city engineers. It’s possible they were unbiased, but in any case they weren’t very well prepared for the meeting or very accurate; after subsequent questioning from the CVPB, they admitted that they hadn’t even spoken to the City of San Marcos. I know that we all want to believe that government officials only ever offer us 100% accurate information, but unfortunately that is not true, which is why it is incumbent on citizens to ask hard questions. Did you read the articles in the Carmel Valley News after the meeting? I was one of the many people who wrote to correct what the traffic engineers had said after further investigation:

    I wish I could be as excited about the project as you and believe that it will be wonderful for our community….Unfortunately, the more I examine the data around the project, the more it is clear that Kilroy is not being truthful with the community. I encourage you read future letters in the Carmel Valley News with more data on the subject, and to investigate further yourself. I am grateful to all of the others in the community who called my own attention to the dangers of the project, by doing hard work fact-checking Kilroy’s proposals instead of believing their PR.

    • Paula Nguyen

      The traffic experts at the hearing said the traffic technology in San Marcos had been reduced by 30% only to find out later it’s actually 10%. Since they got that number wrong you feel these experts are biased and what they reported should be dismissed. Even though a 10% reduction is still an improvement. So applying that same logic to your letter means that your words don’t carry any weight either because you lied about how you couldn’t find one supporter from those three neighborhoods. I don’t speak for anyone but myself and neither should YOU!

      I have to bring up your point about PR because it’s very hypocritical. You claim to have done some “hard work fact-checking” (which you clearly have not) and insult people like myself for being easily influenced by Kilroy’s PR but your letters and comment sound exactly like the PR group that is against One Paseo. Word for word.

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