As I put the finishing touches to the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board’s response to Kilroy’s DEIR Alternatives, several issues have surfaced. Kilroy’s insistence that only the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board has a vote on the One Paseo project to the exclusion of all other impacted residents outside Carmel Valley. This is true, but it shrouds the true nature of One Paseo’s impact upon regional traffic congestion, especially as it relates to emergency response time from Fire Station 24 on Del Mar Heights Road.
Development Services Department (DSD) has clearly indicated that the One Paseo project is tied to specific roadway improvements called mitigation measures. These mitigation measures must be in place before building permits are issued. The I-5/SR-56 connector project is on the list of mitigation measures and includes the removal of the Del Mar Heights Bridge and the construction of a new bridge and connector ramps from I-5 to SR-56. As a side note, Caltrans plans to start construction on this project in 2020 and finish by 2030, but this project remains unfunded.
Now the rub: DSD indicates that building permits would not be deferred in the event that the City Council adopts a Statement of Overriding Considerations relative to impacts to traffic, since these mitigations are beyond the control of the project applicant and the city of San Diego. Therefore, the reality of the situation is that the nine City Council members can choose to ignore the facts about traffic and approve One Paseo. Remember that only Councilwoman Sherri Lightner lives in District 1 and, at that, in La Jolla. San Diego’s mayor and county supervisor get no vote. The Carmel Valley board’s vote is only advisory, as is the city’s Planning Commission.
Therefore, none of the City Council members actually lives in and around Carmel Valley or Torrey Pines but can — by their vote — affect our lives and safety for the next 15 years. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Chair, Torrey Pines Community Planning Board