Lawsuits flying over One Paseo project in Carmel Valley

According to press releases issued Wednesday, April 8, two lawsuits have been filed against the One Paseo project.

One is from three community groups — the Alliance for Responsible Development, the East Bluff Community Association, and Mitigate One Paseo. It alleges that the project had multiple problems with its environmental documents. The groups, composed of residents concerned about the impact of the One Paseo project on their communities, and traffic and safety impacts in the wider, North San Diego County area, are challenging the project, which is also the subject of a recent referendum campaign.

In addition, Donahue Schriber, the owner of Del Mar Highlands Town Center, April 8 filed suit against the city of San Diego and Kilroy Realty Corporation, challenging the validity of the Environmental Impact Report prepared for One Paseo and upon which the San Diego City Council based its approval of the development.

In the press release for the group lawsuit, William Bibb, president of the Alliance for Responsible Development, stated: “As a long term resident of Carmel Valley and San Diego County, I am concerned about protecting the quality of life in our communities. We cannot allow developers to come into our community and create density without first providing convenient access to an established network of public transportation. Such access is the key element of both Smart Growth and transit-oriented development policies aimed at reducing reliance on automobile traffic with harmful greenhouse emissions and unhealthful particulates. Further, our state is facing an historic drought of Biblical proportions. It is clear that the necessary water infrastructure does not exist to cope with fantasies of unlimited growth.”

Janie Emerson, president of the East Bluff Community Association, added, “My biggest concern is that the City Council’s vote totally negated the vibrant community planning process that took place in Carmel Valley. This should be a major concern to every resident in the City of San Diego. If our City Council can totally ignore the wishes of the community and completely trample their community planning process as it did here, then this can happen in any neighborhood.”

In the other press release, Elizabeth Schreiber, vice president of Operations and Development for Donahue Schriber, stated: “For more than six years we have expressed our concerns, as a neighboring property owner, about the One Paseo project. We have repeatedly documented our concerns regarding the traffic that will be generated by the project and the significant impact its size and scale will have on the surrounding community. At our own expense, we commissioned independent analyses documenting the significant and unmitigable impacts of One Paseo. Despite our best efforts, Kilroy has been unwilling to address the community’s concerns. We have been left with no choice but to elevate this issue to the courts.”

Donahue Schriber’s suit focuses on the inadequacy of the EIR, including its failure to accurately identify project impacts and propose mitigation measures adequate for offsetting these effects. The suit further contends that the City violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving the One Paseo project and its EIR and failed to follow the mandatory procedural requirements of CEQA, adequately evaluate the environmental impacts of the project, adequately evaluate feasible alternatives, and impose adequate and feasible mitigation measures to reduce the project’s environmental impacts. Additionally, the suit challenges that there was no substantial evidence to support the project’s Statement of Overriding Considerations and that the City violated the Planning and Zoning Law by failing to require the Project’s consistency with the City’s General Plan, the Carmel Valley Community Plan, and the Carmel Valley Employment Center Precise Plan, among other items.

“There is no doubt that the One Paseo EIR fails to meet the standards set forth by the California Environmental Quality Act. When these issues come to light in a court of law, we are confident we will prevail in our efforts to protect the Carmel Valley community,” continued Schreiber.

The One Paseo development, proposed by Los Angeles-based developer Kilroy Realty, has been the subject of intense opposition from some members of the local community since the Draft Environmental Impact Report was released in 2010.

— Submitted press releases