By Karen Billing
The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s Regional Issues Subcommittee again recently reviewed a proposed new housing development on Worsch Way in Carmel Valley, with many neighbors present expressing their continued concerns about the potential of eight more houses in their neighborhood.
“The two biggest issues are the impacts of having something there that wasn’t there before and where that driveway is going to go,” said Jan Fuchs, regional issues committee co-chair.
The Worsches were one of the original landowners in Carmel Valley, selling some 300 acres to Baldwin Homes in 1981, with the Worsch family keeping their 1.6-acre homestead on the hill off Worsch Way, near the intersection of Del Mar Trails and Worsch Drive.
The land went up for sale last year and was purchased by Del Mar Mesa resident Gary Levitt of Seabreeze Properties. The Worsch home is still there and will be removed in favor of the subdivision, with original plans calling for an access point on the existing driveway from the Worsch Way cul-de-sac.
The lot is zoned for 13 homes, but Levitt is only proposing eight. Levitt plans for the homes to target an aging population with design guidelines requiring that all master bedrooms be on the ground floor. The homes will be in an L-shape with courtyards to give an indoor-outdoor architecture feel and allow people to live simply, utilizing natural sun and breezes. The development will be LEED certified with solar energy features and water-conserving landscape.
Levitt has adapted his plan from when it was first presented to the city, lowering the site three feet with the plans to export 7,500 cubic yards of dirt. All of the trees on the top of the slope will have to be removed to make way for the homes.
Levitt said they would’ve liked to keep some of the trees, such as an old Torrey pine, but it was not possible with fire and city safety regulations. Levitt planned to maintain the slope, preserving the existing landform and community character.
“I have the opportunity here to do something different,” Levitt said. “I just thought we had an opportunity to treat this property special and leave it as high as possible.”
He said what they are proposing is the better solution than eight more garages facing public streets.
Due to residents’ concerns, Levitt has explored several alternatives, including bringing the access road to mid-block on Worsch Drive, which would lower the site further and increase the quantity of dirt that has to be hauled out to 14,000 cubic yards. By putting the drive out onto Worsch Drive, the lots of the subdivision will be larger and there will be one less unit—only seven homes.
Levitt said he is willing to go lot by lot and see how they affect surrounding neighbors, tailoring the community design guidelines to include single story zones.
Other alternatives included moving the entrance onto busy Del Mar Trails, which Fuchs said the city would never approve, and a multiple driveway alternative that would bring the entire project down from the slope and onto street level, eight different driveways out onto Worsch Drive and Del Mar Trails.