Beware of One Frankenstein


Gabriele M. Prater

Carmel Valley resident and past vice chair, Carmel Valley Community Planning Board

Let us separate a few facts from carefully constructed fiction in evaluating the proposed One Paseo project.

MYTH: The PR campaign highlights a lovely gathering place for families and friends to stroll and relax in. All the artist renderings show small numbers of people basking in the sunshine with practically no cars nor tall buildings in sight.

FACT: Although the proposed project seeks nearly 4X the current land use entitlement, it allocates only approximately 1 acre (less than 5 percent of the total site) to the Plaza Area lot. This “gathering space” would be crammed between a 10-story and an 8-story office building, a 2-story retail building and the interior streets on which many of the estimated 26,000 trips per day would be entering and leaving the more than 4,000 space parking structures on their way to and from Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real. The noise and pollution created by the cars queuing up while coming and going will hardly engender a relaxing family friendly atmosphere. The tall buildings will further cast a shadow over much of the gathering space during the colder months of the year.

MYTH: 2,300 jobs would be created.

FACT: The existing CV community plan for this site calls for construction of 500,000 square feet of office space, which would create a little over 1,500 jobs assuming the developer’s general methodology. That means that the much larger One Paseo project would be creating less than 800 additional jobs; most of these would come from the retail and hotel businesses which have a preponderance of entry level or minimum wage jobs and few of them would pay enough to live in this community thereby bringing in more traffic from outside. As a point of reference, the increased employment would represent 0.05 percent of the roughly 1.86 million civilian labor force in San Diego County.

There remains, of course, the issue of massive traffic impacts on Carmel Valley if this project is permitted in its present form. Suffice it to say here that it calls for installation of two additional traffic lights on Del Mar Heights Road between High Bluff and El Camino Real. There would be a permanent queuing up of cars coming and going to the freeway. 20,000 additional cars (over that projected from existing entitlements) would travel Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real every day. As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, if we recall the traffic this community experiences during the County Fair, which increase can be largely attributed to Fair patrons driving to the TPHS parking lots (less than 800 spaces) to catch a shuttle bus to the Fair, what can we expect from a development which will have more than 4,000 parking spaces located less than 1/2 mile from an already impacted freeway interchange?

One Paseo with its high rise buildings, regional-draw shopping center and 150-room hotel would forever change the character and quality of life of Carmel Valley. It would force an urban density greater than Los Angeles style mixed-use projects into our midst. Carmel Valley residents need to demand the design of an alternative lower impact project consistent with the safeguards the CV community plan provides to them.