The Pacific Highlands Ranch Branch Library project has turned a page, with architects now assigned to help bring the community’s new library to life.
On Oct. 10, San Diego City Council awarded a consultant agreement with Hanna Gabriel Wells Architects for the design of the much-anticipated facility. The architects are the same designers for the new 17,000 recreation center at the community park across the street, now under construction.
Jim Gabriel, a principal with Hanna Gabriel Wells, visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board on Oct. 26 to share that the firm is at the very beginning part of the process, which will involve community input.
“We are very excited about it and are looking forward to working with your board,” Gabriel said. “The branch library that is being planned is really to serve the greater Carmel Valley communities and to help take some of the pressure off the Carmel Valley Library, which is the busiest library in the entire library system for the city of San Diego.”
Gabriel said that the location will best serve a variety of communities, right at the heart of the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, off Village Center Loop Road just past Canyon Crest Academy and Pacific Trails Middle School.
“It’s really a terrific site, right on a promenade that connects to the park,” Gabriel said.
In the spring, the planning board worked to resolve a disconnect between the city and the Village over the library site. The 3-acre library site had been reserved at the Village with 1.5 acres as a civic use extension of the Village, a green space open corridor. The library department had believed that the acreage was theirs to plan and develop. Carmel Valley Planning Board Chair Frisco White and the rest of the board strongly advocated for that acreage to remain open space. The grassy open space, just beyond where the Village’s town center plaza is now, includes plans for a dog park, trails, passive seating areas and a community garden.
Gabriel said that the city is aware of the “sensitive” issue around the property and said that the city has a “very clear “ understanding that the area is meant to remain as a community asset.
According to Allen Kashani, a planning board member and director of project management at Pardee Homes, the project will be fully funded in July 2018.
“It seems to me we can get going as fast as we can,” Kashani said.