Developers at odds over proposed wall, parking garage

A divide has formed between Coast Income Properties, the developer of the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, and a future mixed use project next door. At its Oct. 27 meeting, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board heard about the disagreement over a proposed wall at the Corallina development and a new parking garage at the Village.

Corallina’s father and son developers Mike and John Finley say they need to build a 400-foot- long wall, running 10 to 15 feet high from Carmel Valley Road for their vertical mixed-use project of residential flats above retail on Village Way. Coast Income has never liked the wall and, in August 2015, the Carmel Valley planning board approved the Corallina project 12-1 on the condition that the developers would resolve the conflict over the wall.

Now in response to the wall, Coast Income has proposed building a single-deck parking garage.

Corallina developers don’t want their residents to look out onto a parking garage; Coast Income doesn’t want the long wall.

Last week, the developers said they are at a stalemate. They refuse to share a common wall —Coast Income Properties Vice President Dan Curran said they cannot finance it and it is not insurable, creating a liability.

“I’m very disappointed to hear what we are hearing after what we thought would be a nice project with two developers working together,” planning board chair Frisco White said. “There’s got to be a way to work this out.”

White said the developers must come back with a solution at a special Nov. 16 board meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. at the Carmel Valley Library.

The Village has been approved for 195,000 square feet of retail and, to date, 150,000 square feet of retail has been built. Matt Semic, of Latitude 33, an engineering firm that represents both neighboring developers, said Coast proposes to build 23,000 square feet of retail (two-story) that will echo the building that houses Dolce across the street on the land that is currently a temporary parking lot in front of Crunch gym. They will then seek an amendment to their permit to add the single-deck parking structure on the corner of Village Way.

The structure would add 140 parking spaces which Semic said will help deal with the center’s high parking demand and avoid a situation like the one that occurred at the busy Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The top deck would be at the same level with Carmel Valley Road and it will be screened with trellises and “heavily” landscaped.

A parking structure is also currently being built behind Crunch.

The residents in Corallina will be looking down at the top deck of the parking structure — in the previous plan they would be looking at surface parking.

“We were shocked when they came to us and showed us the parking garage,” said Mike Finley. “Don’t let them ruin the living experience of the families that will live in those townhomes.”

Curran said the structure is much nicer than a 15-foot-high wall.

“The Finleys’ design change created the wall,” Curran said, noting the Village graded down to where they thought Corallina would be. “We didn’t create the situation, we’re trying to deal with the situation.”

The Finleys disagree that they created the issue and also don’t believe the parking structure is needed in this area of the Village.

“We don’t feel that the burden should be on us to make up for the deficit they have on parking in their phase one. They need to find other solutions,” John Finley said, noting the parking structure should be by Trader Joe’s or along Carmel Valley Road. “The community might not want to see it but we don’t want to see it either.”

Another issue with the proposed garage is a five-foot alley that would separate Corallina’s wall from the Village’s parking garage — a space required by city setbacks. The Finleys believe it creates a hidden unsafe spot that could attract bad behavior.

Curran assured the board that the alley would be locked by a gate and that the center additionally has security cameras and 24-hour security patrol.

“It’s not going to be accessible,” Curran said.

John Finley said that the original intent was for there to be storefronts along Village Way on Coast’s side that would flow into Corallina’s retail elements. He said the parking garage will effectively remove any sense of connection between the two projects.

The board members struggled to imagine what an alternative could be. White said the developers were putting the board in a very difficult position and urged them to find a compromise before Nov. 16.

“It’s very disappointing that parking drives so much of our projects. This was supposed to be a pedestrian-oriented Village and here we are whining about parking,” said board member Barry Schultz. “I’m more inclined to see us make some sacrifices (with less parking).

“I don’t think it’s our responsibility to figure out your business problems. I think it’s ridiculous for us to have sat through this because you can’t come to an agreement,” Schultz said.

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