City expected to approve plans for another new Carmel Valley housing development by end of summer

By Karen Billing

Taylor Morrison’s latest housing development project planned for Pacific Highlands Ranch continues to move through the city process, aiming for approval by the end of the summer. Newly named The Elms and The Ivy, the project is 174 single family homes on 26.3 acres off Carmel Valley Road near Rancho Santa Fe Farms Road, just east of the future Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s regional issues subcommittee reviewed changes to the development at its June 5 meeting.

The biggest change to the project since the subcommittee last saw it in September came from primary comments from the city planning department that requested that the developer make some of its single family home products “alley loaded.”

Alley loaded means that dwellings have garages tucked behind the homes, accessed by a back alley street. Bernie Turgeon, city planner, said that they asked that homes be alley-loaded in an attempt to mix up unit types, adding variety and avoiding monotony.

The development will have several different models of homes, ranging from 3,200 square feet to 4,000 square feet in styles such as “classic Americana” and “coastal cottage.” The community will also have pocket parks and green paseos.

Another change in the plans was made to the development’s entrance road.

Last September, the subcommittee recommended widening the entrance to make it more of a “grand boulevard” and the city made a similar suggestion. The result is a 106-foot -wide parkway with wide sidewalks, bike lanes and a median in the center that will mirror Lopelia Meadows Place across Carmel Valley Road.

“Quite honestly, I think it’s an improved project,” said Randi Coopersmith, senior principal planner with Latitude 33. “The process works.”

The Elms and The Ivy also includes an affordable housing component of 28 units on 5 acres on the south side of SR-56, accessed off the Rancho Santa Fe Farms frontage road.

There was some concern voiced from both the subcommittee and the city that the location of the affordable housing is geographically isolated from the community.

“There’s no requirement for where the affordable housing units should be, currently they are dispersed throughout Pacific Highlands Ranch,” said Turgeon.

Turgeon said it’s just a recommendation from the city that if people with lower incomes move in that do not have cars, it would be more appropriate for them to be closer to a center where they can access future transit, the library, grocery shopping and other services.

Coopersmith said he feels that the affordable housing units are planned to be built in a place with “million dollar views” so it isn’t as though they are relegated to an undesirable spot.

Coopersmith noted that the annual income for the units is $55,000 a year so the residents are young professionals, such as teachers or firefighters, many of whom have their own cars to get around. The for-rent units actually come with two parking spaces.

Subcommittee co-chair Jan Fuchs said that a key in the planning principles for Pacific Highlands Ranch was connnectibility, walkability and to create something different.

While The Elms and The Ivy will connect into the future Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch and the neighboring proposed residential project on the “Lynn property” on the west via the parkway, it will not connect to its neighbor to the east, Costa Del Sol.

Costa Del Sol was allowed to be built with all of its roads designated private.

The Costa Del Sol Homeowners Association denied a request to allow through access to its community, arguing that it would cause significant maintenance costs and safety issues. The HOA also opposes the multi-family houses south of SR-56.

Fuchs said twice now the community has lost out on some of PHR’s original planning goals — once with a planned undercrossing under SR-56 and now with the unconnected neighborhoods.

Fuchs expressed disappointment that community plans are made and the city doesn’t take applicants to task to adhere to them, but admitted the committee can’t reverse the changes that have been made.