By Karen Billing
Neighbors of a proposed mixed-use center called Merge, to be located on Carmel Country and Carmel Mountain Roads, have several concerns about the new development and have circulated a petition in opposition.
A petition with 87 signatures from residents of Highlands Village was presented to the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board on May 22.
Residents will be able to learn more about the project as well as voice any concerns at a community meeting on Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. the Torrey Hills Hilton Garden Inn.
With Merge, the developers Gary Levitt and Tony Frost of Seabreeze Properties, said they aim to bring something “new and unique” to the community on the 4-acre lot on the corner of Carmel Country and Carmel Mountain Roads. The “true mixed use” center uses modern architecture in its design for 10 townhomes with detached garages and private yards, and 21 residential flats over 35,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The project will also have a central green area where all of the different uses can “merge.”
Levitt has said he is looking to create a hub for the community with unique and flexible office spaces, restaurants, a coffee shop, retail and residential products that would appeal to bachelors, young couples, small families or empty nesters looking to downsize but remain in the Carmel Valley community.
The developers are seeking an amendment to the existing permit approved in 2007 for 20,000 square feet of commercial retail in five buildings with surface parking lot.
Merge will provide 241 parking spots for the project in both underground parking and a surface lot. The original plan included 186 spaces, all surface parking.
Fran Kennedy, a resident representing Highlands Village, said the petition aims to stop the project “immediately,” calling for a redesign that takes into account the neighborhood concerns. Kennedy said the neighbors would like to see a center that is smaller in scale, lower in intensity and more consistent with the surrounding area’s character. In previous meetings, some residents have said that the center’s modern architecture and design clashes with the existing look of the neighborhood.