Carmel Valley planning board weighs in on One Paseo project

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The May 24 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting was packed with One Paseo opponents and proponents. Photo: Karen Billing

By Karen Billing

More than 300 people showed up to the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting on May 24 as the board members discussed the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the One Paseo project. The meeting was held at Carmel Valley Middle School as a large crowd was anticipated and a large crowd it was, with people holding signs and sporting project opponent “Save Carmel Valley” stickers and project proponent “I Support Main Street” pins.

Comments on the DEIR were due May 29 and the board’s comments would include what the board contends are inaccuracies in the areas of the environmental setting, project description, land use, transportation/circulation/parking, community character and visual effect and the project alternatives.

“I hope that this process helps us understand the concerns about the project,” said Robert Little, Kilroy vice president of development.

He said while the DEIR is a technical and disclosure document, it does not talk about the benefits of the project which he believes are many, including providing a heart to the community and a “Main Street.”

The biggest concerns voiced were surrounding the community character and the unmitigated traffic impacts.

“There’s no conceivable way to mitigate all of the traffic impacts if this is built at the size and scale that it is,” planning board member Chris Moore said.

The board and some audience members wondered why the DEIR didn’t include a scaled down alternative that could achieve the project objectives without the same negative impacts.

“I don’t know why it was not included,” said CV planning board chair Frisco White and noted it would be a question they asked in their comments.

The board had concerns that the DEIR did not accurately describe the surrounding neighborhood that One Paseo is moving into, leaving out one single-family detached neighborhood and describing the area as having a 10-story building nearby, but board member Anne Harvey said that building is actually next to Interstate-5.

“It was described in a way that made it less contrasting, often capturing a broader area,” vice chair Manjeet Ranu said. “The bulk and scale is radically different than anything in Carmel Valley and the DEIR really glosses over that.”

The visual effect section also does not consider the negative impact of widening the roads around One Paseo, Ranu said, which would result in a Mira Mesa Boulevard-type character.

The loss of trees is also not discussed, regional issues co-chair Jan Fuchs pointed out, about 72 of them on Del Mar Heights Road.

The market retail study was also considered inadequate by the board, not looking at the negative impacts to existing and planned retail, such as Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center. One Paseo could potentially cause it and other retail not to be successful, White said.

“PHR already has a Village Center, it just hasn’t had the chance yet,” said board member Allen Kashani. “I’d hate to see this project take away the opportunity to have a grocery store or a theater in PHR.”

Moore also said that there needs to be better analysis that it is a walkable project as stated, as he doesn’t seem many linkages for people to get to the project easily and it’s likely a place most people will need to drive to.

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