Carmel Valley board says One Paseo’s temporary signs must go

The planning board says One Paseo's signs on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real are not allowed.
(Karen Billing)

One Paseo’s temporary billboard signs must come down by the end of the month, according to action taken by the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board on Aug. 22.

The planning board contends that the large 30-foot double signs on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and the two long signs on El Camino Real that advertise new tenants must be removed as they are not in compliance with the Carmel Valley Sign Guidelines and Criteria.

In early August, One Paseo representatives told the board’s signage subcommittee that they would be down in 30 days. At the Aug. 22 meeting, the One Paseo team requested leaving the large signs up for an additional 30 days, until the end of September, to advertise leasing for the new residential units.

Chair Frisco White said no, requesting immediate action. He said if the signs are not down by the end of the month, they would file a complaint to the city of San Diego.

“A smaller leasing sign could be allowed but those are too big,” said board member Ken Farinsky. “By the end of the month, those need to come down.”

Per the sign guidelines, temporary “grand opening/coming soon”-type signs are permitted, but only for 90 days. Typically the board has let signs stay up longer to be friendly to businesses but as one local resident pointed out, the signs have been there for over a year.

“It’s time for them to go…it’s an eyesore,” the resident said.

Over the last month, the board’s signage subcommittee has held “productive” meetings with One Paseo tenants and the management team on non-compliance issues according to the committee chair John Dean. Dean said that four tenants are out of compliance, mostly with the number of signs they have, including the painted International Smoke sign on the Del Mar Heights Road-facing frontage.

The board asked the One Paseo team to develop a signage plan for the center before any new signs are placed.

Julie Neward, general manager of One Paseo, said they would start getting a sign package together, creating a plan for signs that let the community know what’s available, how to access the site and to make new residents to feel welcome.

“We will get it right and we’ll do a great job,” Neward said.

Carmel Valley’s unique sign guidelines were developed back in 1990 to reduce the prominence of signage, create a balance between commercial and aesthetic interests as well as encourage creative and “otherwise tasteful signage that contributes character and vitality to the Carmel Valley community.”

The planning board has gone through a similar review of a proposed signage plan for Del Mar Highlands Town Center across the street as it undergoes its expansion with the Collection and Sky Deck. Farinsky said they do want One Paseo to be successful, but they need to have the signage plan in place to ensure all tenants are on board and follow the rules.

“You don’t have to exactly conform to (the Carmel Valley Sign Guidelines) but if you want to have variations, you just need to come and get it approved by the planning board,” Farinsky said, noting that the project’s internal signage is fine. “I think you should stop external signs on street fronts because that’s what got you in trouble.”