2013 in Carmel Valley: A year in review

By Karen Billing

Here’s a look at some of the major stories to hit Carmel Valley in 2013:

Principal switches

In 2013, Carmel Valley schools saw principal shake-ups in all three of its school districts as Solana Pacific, Sycamore Ridge, Sage Canyon, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines High and Canyon Crest Academy all got new faces in the principal’s office.

While one, Solana Pacific’s Brian McBride, retired, the rest moved on to new positions or for personal reasons: Sycamore’s Emily Morris was replaced by Peg LaRose from Sage Canyon; Vivian Firestone took LaRose’s place at Sage; Torrey Hills’ Barbara Boone was replaced by Monica Sorenson; and Elisa Fregosa took the reins from McBride, who was the founding principal at Solana Pacific. At the high school level, Brett Killeen left after nine years at Torrey Pines, replaced by Canyon Crest Academy’s founding principal David Jaffe. Canyon Crest Academy’s Brian Kohn left for Northern California to be replaced by Karl Mueller.

Additionally, at the end of December it was announced that principal Jerry Jones would also be leaving Solana Highlands to open the new Solana Ranch School in Pacific Highlands Ranch in 2014, meaning one more principal needed to be found to lead a Carmel Valley school.

Mixed uses

Carmel Valley heard a lot about mixed use in 2013 as three projects went through review processes with the planning board. Buzz words emerged such as: walkability, village, Main Street, Trader Joe’s, “strings of pearls” and level of service (LOS).

Overflow crowds turned out to planning board meetings held in local school auditoriums to hear about everything from the very technical details of the One Paseo draft environmental impact report to just wanting to have a say  on the project — some feel the project would ruin Carmel Valley, others feel Carmel Valley needs the project.

In January, more than 400 people showed up at Canyon Crest Academy for a rehashing of One Paseo — including former Mayor Bob Filner, who would resign in August after several allegations from multiple women of sexual harassment.

In March, more than 200 people attended a meeting where Kilroy unveiled more than $5 million in extra community benefits, including a tree-lined boulevard along Del Mar Heights, a village walk along El Camino Real with a series of public plazas and spaces (the “pearls”), making missing connections to trails and contributing toward a proposed new soccer field at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center.

Some found the enhancements fantastic, others compared them to “lipstick on a pig.”

In October, the city re-circulated the One Paseo environmental impact report (EIR) with two additional scaled back alternatives of the proposed project, but Kilroy still believes that the reduced Main Street alternative will best meet the project’s goals and objectives.

While Trader Joe’s is no longer a part of One Paseo, developers Coast Income Properties were able to score the much-requested Trader Joe’s as its first signed tenant for the Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center.

The Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center project was unanimously given recommended approval by the CV planning board in February. The mixed use site will feature 155,000 square feet of retail with a mix of shops and restaurants, a unique plaza gathering space, large green area and 325 residential units.

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