Some fear mixed-use development would change character of community
By Karen Billing
The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board continues to keep an eye on Kilroy Realty’s plan for a mixed-use office, retail and residential center on El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road.
City planner Bernie Turgeon gave an update on Kilroy’s progress at the planning group’s regional issues subcommittee meeting on Oct. 6, saying the city is awaiting the results of the traffic study, a park impact analysis and an economic market analysis. A full environmental impact report will also be done.
The intensity of the development remains a big concern for the city and the planning board as they say it has the potential to change Carmel Valley’s community character.
Kilroy’s plan breaks down to 515,000 square feet of corporate office space (one 10-story building) and 30,000 square feet of small professional office space. The balance is anticipated to be a mix of food, shops, a movie theater and convenience, such as a high-end supermarket.
There will also be a 150-room hotel and 608 new residential units. The project will sit on top of underground parking and encourage people to park and walk throughout the center.
Two signalized traffic lights on Del Mar Heights Road will be added and two more non-signalized right-turn only driveways on El Camino Real.
Turgeon said the plan is five times the current entitlement of 500,000 square feet, around 2, 044,200 million square feet. By comparison, Westfield UTC is 1 million square feet and Del Mar Highlands is 273,000 square feet.
“It’s basically Del Mar Highlands Town Center, plus two office buildings, plus two Pell Places (the apartment complex off Townsgate Drive) and a hotel,” said resident Ken Farinksy.
“It’s the redevelopment of Carmel Valley to a different level,” board member Anne Harvey said. “Is this going to remain a small community with a town center (Del Mar Highlands)? Are people committed to have that continue as it is or is the larger community ready to start talking redevelopment?”
Planning board member Scott Tillson said the project will certainly change the community and the change could be good or bad.
“I’m very intrigued by the Kilroy project but I want to understand it,” Tillson said.
He said the traffic studies would be the most telling and the most challenging to do because it will require different traffic models. With this center going in, models will have to reflect the center’s potential regional draw and also the way it will keep Carmel Valley residents here, instead of driving to shop at UTC or other centers.
There will also be office traffic and residential traffic to consider.
Turgeon said the developers have made some design changes shown to the city in schematics, but a revised plan has yet to be submitted. Turgeon said the changes opened up the project more, moving buildings around to improve views into the plaza.
“The parking structure was also turned and wrapped with the retail so it’s less visible from El Camino Real,” Turgeon said. “They made a good faith effort to address the design comments of the city.”