Carmel Valley board urges for One Paseo to keep moving forward

The new One Paseo project may have to skip the San Diego Planning Commission and go straight to City Council for approval due to four of the seven commissioners having conflicts of interest. The mixed-use project on El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road had been slated to go before the commission on April 21 and, according to Council President Sherri Lightner, city staff has been exploring all possible avenues to see if the commission could still hear the project.

Lightner said it’s “unprecedented” that a project as highly contentious as One Paseo would not go through the planning commission process, especially in absence of clear direction from the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board, who split its vote on the project with a list of conditions in January.

“It’s critical that we follow the processes in place to ensure proper review,” Lightner said.

Lightner said while it is her preference that they find a way for it to go to the planning commission first, if the city finds that is not an option, they will docket it for the next available City Council meeting date.

At its April 27 board meeting, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board discussed sending a letter to the City Council expressing its support on moving forward on One Paseo rather than seeing it get “stuck.”

As currently four of the seven commissioners have a conflict of interest on One Paseo, they would have to recuse from a vote. With only three commissioners remaining, there would not be enough members to take action, White explained.

Two of the commissioners, Doug Austin and Susan Peerson, recused themselves from the vote in 2014. Newly appointed commissioner Bill Hofman has a conflict of interest as he has been a land use consultant for Kilroy for many years, according to Jamas Gwilliam, senior vice president of Kilroy.

Gwilliam said that Kilroy was informed by the San Diego Ethics Commission that one commissioner who had voted on the project previously, Anthony Wagner, cited a personal conflict.

“Unfortunately no one knew that this could happen and we’re just trying to get some support to move it forward,” White said. “We need to get an up or down on this project, let’s move forward…We’ve been hearing it for six or seven or eight years.”

As part of the letter in support of moving forward, the board will also request the city hold a special hearing for One Paseo rather than it just being an agenda item as it will be the only way the public can participate and be heard.

“If the City Council does hear it, it needs to ensure adequate time to discuss it because often times they have fairly abbreviated discussions where the planning commission has a longer time to talk about it,” CV Planning Board member Ken Farinsky said, wanting to ensure all community members who show up have an opportunity to speak.

Another advocate for moving forward was Bob Fuchs, a staunch opponent of One Paseo for the last seven years. Fuchs was part of the group that sued the developer, resulting in a settlement agreement for a smaller One Paseo that cut the traffic impact in half.

“From the time of the settlement, the developer has acted in a much more cooperative and community-friendly way,” Fuchs said. “Here’s a case where the developer is actually working hard to work with the community within certain constraints and they’re being faced with delays…Let’s not let this thing drag on.”

The new 1.2 million-square-foot One Paseo represents a 58 percent reduction in the office element from the original project, down to 280,000 square feet; and the retail represents a 62 percent reduction, down to 95,000 square feet. The 608 residential units remain the same.

The land on Del Mar Heights and El Camino Real is entitled to 510,000 square feet of office space.