Five things about One Paseo the developer doesn’t want you to consider

Tonight Kilroy will present a modestly scaled down version of its One Paseo project at the Canyon Crest Academy Auditorium at 7 p.m. While most of us favor the project concept, Kilroy will continue to press for what is a tripling in its approved scale even after the recent down-sizing. In doing so they’ll tout a number of benefits that deserve serious consideration by all of us:

  1. Economic Benefits.
The 1,590 more permanent jobs One Paseo promises sounds good, until you learn that 75 percent of those would be provided by just the office buildings they are currently allowed. So for maybe 400 more mostly low-paying retail and service jobs we’re being asked to let them more than triple the project size and add four times the traffic to the middle of our community. Is that fair? Do we really want to trade our “island” for a few beads?

  1. More Economic Benefits.
$10 million in new fees to local schools should be a windfall, so why isn’t the school district cheering? Because they estimate a $17 million facility cost — plus land cost — to accommodate the expected increase in enrollment from One Paseo’s proposed residential addition, with no clear funding source for the shortfall. So the developer would be increasing our shopping choices at the expense of our kids’ education — is that our community’s goal?

  1. Neighborhood Character.
What don’t the developer’s idyllic renderings show? First, the “reduced” One Paseo still has office and residential buildings rising to twice the height of similar buildings in the vicinity, and sited only half as far from our streets as those along La Jolla Village Drive. And all those mature trees along both our main streets? They’ll be removed and replaced with much smaller trees to accommodate the minimal building setbacks. Giving up our foliage for steel and concrete — is that a good trade-off? Should we all pull out our own landscaping so we can fit in with the “new” Carmel Valley?

  1. Traffic Light Synchronization.
A ruse, a non-starter. It’s been demonstrated in San Marcos that such a program is increasingly ineffective as the number of cars trying to enter a road approaches its carrying capacity. When One Paseo’s neighbors build their already-approved projects or additions, just that additional traffic will drive Del Mar Heights Road well over its carrying capacity. The result? Imagine 30 to 60 minute increases in rush hour commute times. And on top of that overload Kilroy insists on adding a 200 percent increase in One Paseo? That’s putting the community first, right?

  1. The Trojan Horse.
Or beware of developers bearing gifts. A Trader Joe’s store is approximately 13,000 square feet. But the developer is telling us that to get this “prize” we have to also accept over 200,000 square feet of additional retail space (roughly another Del Mar Highlands) plus 600 residential units. Half of each of those additions might be reasonable in exchange for part of their office approval. Since the zoning allows them to convert up to 75,000 square feet of office building to restaurant and retail uses like Trader Joe’s, why has the developer not offered even this small token? C’mon guys, do you want to enhance the community or overwhelm it — how much profit do you need to make on one deal?

Please join us and bring your neighbors to this very important meeting, tonight, Thursday at 7 p.m., at the CCA Auditorium at 5951 Village Center Loop Road. Our community and its Planning Board need your support.

Robert Freund