One Paseo: Opportunity or Opportunism

For all those who have waded through the voluminous Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed One Paseo development, “You can’t get there from here!” is no longer just the punch line of a joke. It is now a formal engineering assessment of future traffic circulation to and through the heart of our Carmel Valley community if this development is allowed to go forward on the massive scale proposed.

Whether you’re a parent or student trying to get to school before first bell, or a business person trying to make an early morning meeting or get home for dinner with your family, your current commute will soon be lengthened dramatically. If the developer’s “If you build it, they [jobs] will come” rationale proves true, so will the final scene from the same movie (“Field of Dreams”): cars lined up for miles at the Del Mar Heights Road freeway on- and off-ramps, transforming our community’s major thoroughfare into a parking lot several times a day.

For those who support the project in its current form in hopes it will bring a favorite shopping destination such as Trader Joe’s closer, ask yourself this: does it really require building an additional half a million square feet of office space plus one million square feet of high rise residential and hotel to deliver what’s important to you? You can have your Trader Joe’s and much, much more within the 500,000 square feet the developer is already entitled to build. What do you gain by having him build four times that amount, aside from traffic congestion that will make you wish you had driven to Encinitas to shop?

And if you’re anticipating pleasant strolls through a much-publicized expansive community-gathering area, a small disappointment awaits you there too. Small as in the actual size of an area compressed by significant building and landscape setbacks. And instead of relaxing in blue sky and sunshine over one- to three- story buildings depicted in the developer’s renderings, you’ll be covered in pervasive shadows cast by the surrounding 8- and 10-story office and apartment buildings that are conveniently obscured in the developer’s renderings.

But recently there are rays of hope. A growing number of your neighbors are working tirelessly analyzing the 4,000-page DEIR to expose the truths of this massive deception and rally support for meaningful community input. And a number of City Council members, having earlier been enticed by the developer’s siren song of huge job creation potential, are now willing to look past Kilroy’s munificent political contributions to question whether One Paseo isn’t just a modern day version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” with promised opportunity being revealed as naked opportunism.

What can you do? Despite Kilroy’s determination to by-pass the community in pursuing development plan approval, most of us, including citizen groups such as “What Price Main Street?” (www.whatpricemainstreet.com), still welcome the concept of One Paseo. What we and a growing core of residents oppose is the developer’s goal of “super-sizing” it into a homerun for its shareholders at the sacrifice of our community’s character and livability.

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