Five Carmel Valley stories to watch in 2012

By Karen Billing

Carmel Mountain Preserve

The trail portion of the resource management plan for the Del Mar Mesa and Carmel Mountain Preserves received most of the attention, but the constant delays affected much more than hikers, bikers and equestrians itching to get back on approved trails. The delay also held up grant-funded restoration projects that have been planned for the 300-acre preserve.

“Finalizing that plan has been the main hurdle,” said David Hogan, of the Chaparral Lands Conservancy. “We expect once we’ve been given the OK we’ll get all our permits signed off by everybody by spring to break ground in summer 2012.”

The preserve is home to one of the largest remaining patches of endangered Southern maritime chaparral, as well as several “unique and imperiled species,” such as the short-leaved dudleya that only grows in five other places on the planet.

Hogan’s project will focus on restoring the habitats of both, as well as improving the vernal pools, home to fairy shrimp and Western spade foot toads.

“The planning on these projects is incredible, it’s a very arduous process,” said Hogan of the RMP that has been 10 years in the making. “It will be very gratifying to get some work done on the ground as opposed to sitting at a desk.”

New superintendent at SBSD

With Superintendent Leslie Fausset’s impending retirement, the Solana Beach School District is in search of a new leader. Fausset has led the district, which includes three schools in Carmel Valley, for the last six years. The board of trustees is continuing on its search and Fausset has said she will stay on until the new superintendent is hired. The board took a break for winter, but will pick up the search again in January.

The district is in good shape with all three Carmel Valley schools improving on their Academic Performance Index scores in 2011; Carmel Creek recorded the highest API score in the district with 953.

Kilroy’s One Paseo

Many questions have been raised about the impacts of a new “Main Street for Carmel Valley,” the mixed use retail center called One Paseo planned for El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road. One Paseo’s plan includes about 1.8 million square feet (just over 800,000 square feet is for retail and office uses, and the balance is residential and hotel) and will require a community plan amendment.

Some residents are looking forward to the new shops, eateries and movie theater that the project will bring. Others have been very concerned with the size of the project, and what kind of traffic it will bring.

Many of those questions will be looked at in the draft environmental impact report that is expected to be released in January.

Kilroy continues to make an effort toward hearing the community’s opinions by hosting a series of small group meetings at its Carmel Valley offices on Jan. 17 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Thursday, Jan. 19, at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Those interested in providing input on the project or wanting to learn more about One Paseo can RSVP for the meetings at www.onepaseo.com.

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