One Paseo referendum gathers enough signatures; City Council to reconsider Carmel Valley project May 18

(Karen Billing)

The referendum petition to overturn the San Diego City Council’s decision on One Paseo has gathered more than the necessary 33,224 signatures to force the San Diego City Council to either take back its approval of the 1.45-million-square-foot mixed-use Carmel Valley project or put it on a ballot.

Of the rescission petitions the developer, Kilroy Realty, delivered to the city to remove names from the referendum petition, only 3,220 were valid, so One Paseo opponents still have enough signatures to overturn the council’s decision.

The City Clerk will present the certified referendum petition to the City Council at its May 11 meeting, and on Monday, May 18, the council is expected to rescind its previous action or place the referendum on a citywide ballot.

“I congratulate Protect San Diego’s Neighborhoods on the hard work its leaders performed to educate voters about the importance of this issue and the impact it could have on their neighborhoods,” said San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner in a news release. “If One Paseo is allowed to stand, it paves the way for massive overdevelopment in San Diego and the destruction of community planning in our city.”

Jeff Powers, spokesperson for Protect San Diego’s Neighborhoods, said the group is requesting that the referendum be placed on the June 2016 ballot rather than in a special election paid for by the developer, because special elections typically garner only 10 percent to 20 percent of voters.

“We are thrilled that the voice of San Diegans throughout the city will now be heard,” Powers said. “Our elected officials must be held accountable for their actions, and this referendum does just that.”

Rachel Laing, a spokesperson for Kilroy Realty, said that Kilroy will make a presentation to the council at the May 18 meeting.

“We’re disappointed the project now faces further delay, resulting from a campaign of misinformation paid for by an Orange County-based corporation bent on smothering competition,” Laing said. “We’ll work hard over the next year to educate voters on the merits of what will be San Diego’s most environmentally sustainable project and the many economic and community benefits One Paseo offers.”

The Orange County corporation Laing was referring to is Donahue Schriber, which owns Del Mar Highlands Town Center across the street and has financed opposition campaigns.

Elizabeth Schreiber, vice president of Donahue Schriber and manager of the Highlands, said the company’s long-standing opposition is not about competition, and that they believe the town center and One Paseo could work together to create “synergy” within the community.

“However, as you know, we have closely followed the One Paseo project for more than six years, and the community opposition’s concerns have always centered around the project being three times the size and generating more than four times the traffic than was allowed in the community plan,” Schreiber said.

“As a 20-year member of the community, we are proud to support the referendum effort, and we are pleased that the petition was verified and found to be sufficient. Protect San Diego’s Neighborhoods did an excellent job of circulating the truth about the One Paseo project’s impacts, and while we are hopeful the City Council will rescind its decision, we are confident we will defeat Kilroy at the ballot box if necessary.”