One Paseo opponents seek 33,224 signatures to force referendum

Opponents of One Paseo in Carmel Valley are gathering signatures for a petition to overturn the San Diego City Council’s 7-2 approval of the development project and force a referendum that would bring one of two results: a repeal of the council’s approval or putting One Paseo to a citywide vote.

For a referendum, the signatures of 5 percent of the city’s registered voters — 33,224 signatures — are required to be submitted to the city clerk.

The petition must be filed with the city clerk within 30 days of the legislative act — in this case, the Feb. 23 One Paseo decision. All required signatures would have to be in by March 25.

What Price Main Street members are leading the referendum effort, opposing the City Council’s characterization of the project as “smart growth.”

“The City Council’s vote for One Paseo flies in the face of good planning and what makes sense for our neighborhoods,” said Ken Farinsky of What Price Main Street. “If not overturned, this vote could bring similar oversized developments to neighborhoods throughout San Diego.”

Bob Fuchs, of What Price Main Street, said the One Paseo technical studies were “designed to confuse decision-makers” and understated the impacts on the community.

“The process made a mockery of the safeguards for existing communities that were built into the ‘City of Villages’ planning strategy,” he said. “The City Council’s vote significantly degrades the trust between the city and community groups. We are seeking to restore the integrity of the community planning process and help ensure that no San Diego neighborhood has a similar oversized development forced upon it.”

According to City Clerk Elizabeth Maland, once the petition is submitted, the signatures would have to be verified. If they are sufficient, the referendary petition would be presented to the City Council.

Once the petition is presented, the council must reconsider the act in question within 10 business days. If the council refuses either to reconsider its decision or to grant the petition to repeal the act, the council must adopt a resolution to submit the matter to a vote of the people.

Developer Kilroy Realty responded to the referendum effort with a statement:

“The opponents of One Paseo made their case against the project for many months, and their case was full of falsehoods and unsupported opinions and fears. The City Council members each met with these opponents repeatedly and listened to their concerns and vetted them against the facts. We know they carefully considered objections to the project, because we responded to them with the strong, factual support of technical experts and city staff. Last week’s hearing was the culmination of months of careful study of facts by the council members, and the result was that a bipartisan supermajority of the City Council approved the project.

“Now, project opponents are using the same demonstrably false rhetoric that was rejected by the City Council to overturn the decision by referendum. Like the $1.5 million lobbying effort against One Paseo, this enterprise is being funded by an Orange County corporation seeking to protect its narrow business interests. They’ll likely spend another $1 million trying to overturn the City Council’s thoughtful decision — and in the process block thousands of new jobs and housing in what will be the most sustainable project ever built in San Diego.”