Second One Paseo session shows scaled-down plans in Carmel Valley

Attendees of the workshop share their opinions with the One Paseo team.
(Karen Billing)

Engaging the community has been a big part of the new One Paseo, inviting residents to step up to the drawing board and help create a mixed-use project they can live with.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board hosted a community workshop on the new One Paseo project, Kilroy’s second such workshop, on Aug. 19 at the Del Mar Marriott.

While concerns about traffic and bulk and scale remain for some residents, a big compliment to Kilroy’s improved outreach was scrawled on one of the many sheets of paper around the hotel ballroom: “fabulous level of cooperation and thoughtful conscientious consideration of needs all the way around.”

In their complete “project reset,” Kilroy representatives said they want to present new concepts to stimulate comments and discussion and find out what residents want for the mixed-use development.

“This project is your project,” said Jamas Gwilliam, Kilroy vice president. “If we all work together from here on in on communication, recognizing that some compromises will have to be made along the way, we can end up with a project that’s good for the entire community.”

Carmel Valley Planning Board member Shreya Sasaki said she was glad to see the turnout of nearly 200 people, but she wished that it was more representative of Carmel Valley’s many diverse voices. She noted that the evening time was probably difficult for a lot of working parents to attend to provide input.

To that end, a virtual workshop is available online at, and people can continue to comment until Sept. 2.

Along with the Carmel Valley board, the chairs of the Del Mar Mesa, Torrey Pines and Torrey Hills community planning boards were in attendance. Kathryn Burton, chair of the Torrey Hills board, said she was impressed with the presentation and appreciated that the refined design elements better reflected the community and that the traffic had been reduced.

“Kilroy has done a 180 in how it is dealing with the community,” Burton said. “They obviously are listening and incorporating into the project what the community wants.”

One resident voiced concern that having the planning board host Kilroy gave the appearance that the board already supported the project.

“We did not have anything like this when One Paseo came to us before,” said Frisco White, Carmel Valley Community Planning Board chair, reminding the resident that the board voted against the development last August before it was approved by City Council.

“This is an opportunity to take a fresh look at One Paseo and get the community involved. We may or may not support it; we may support it with conditions.”

The new One Paseo is a 58 percent reduction in the office element, down to 280,000 square feet, and the retail represents a 62 percent reduction, down to 95,000 square feet of retail. The 608 residential units remain the same.

Traffic has been reduced from 24,000 average daily trips to 14,000, and Kilroy still intends to install traffic signal synchronization technology as a community benefit, which Kilroy says will help with emergency vehicle access, a major concern of the Del Mar and Torrey Pines communities.

Several at the workshop commented that they liked that only one more traffic signal would be added to Del Mar Heights Road rather than two. They also asked that there not be a dual turn lane onto High Bluff Drive north, and advocated for bike lanes and safe pedestrian access.

Kilroy has proposed three options for the development’s layout, with the four- and six- story office buildings on El Camino Real at different angles, all with 30-foot setbacks and with the larger buildings terraced to reduce the massing, according to Ramon Hone, of 5+ Design.

Option C features more smaller retail spaces in a cluster, and Option B includes a larger space for a major retailer. Residents could weigh in on which building articulation they preferred.

During the public comment portion near the end of the workshop, several community members said they remained doubtful about the downsizing, saying that 1.1 million square feet is still much more than the 510,000 square feet that the property is entitled for.

One resident said the pictures of pretty landscaping and benches were “smoke and mirrors” to distract people from the real issues.

“While traffic is important, so is intensity and densification,” the resident argued. “This will be the most dense project in San Diego without transit, and no hope for transit. The bulk and scale is too massive, there’s not enough green space, and the office is too close to the street.”

Ken Farinsky, one of the biggest opponents of the original One Paseo proposal who now sits on the planning board, said he was disappointed to hear comments from people that they don’t want anything, or they want it smaller or just an office building.

“I would like to know what’s too big and what would make it acceptable,” he said. “I think we need housing, and I think we need more retail and office. I think we need to be more pragmatic. I don’t think ‘No’ is a good answer at this point.”