One Paseo should not be approved as proposed

I have been reading the comments in the Carmel Valley News for some time. (1) The consensus from residents is that they like the shopping opportunities that the project will present. (2) Some feel that the project will help employment. (3) A few have spoken in favor of additional housing opportunities.

Those opposed cite (1) the additional traffic load which cannot be entirely mitigated based on the size and sheer volume of the project. (2) The project is not within the guidelines originally set by the community plan. (3) Kilroy has been less than forthcoming and honest about the nature and extent of the project.

My observations:

(1) As a 12-year resident of Carmel Valley, I have serious concerns about the One Paseo project as proposed by Kilroy Realty. I walk Carmel Valley regularly. I have walked the trail which borders the west of the project. A simple site line can be imagined from the top of the adjacent Neurocrine building, two stories high. Multiplying that by 8 and 10 story buildings gives a visual of the sight and air flow impairment that the proposed project will create. A walk along El Camino Real and through the Del Mar Highlands center completes the picture. A 10-story office and 8-story office along that corridor will severely impact the western light and air along El Camino Real that we currently enjoy. Deep shadows will prevail over El Camino that will permanently alter the character and ambiance of that street. The opponents are correct on this one. Kilroy’s website and artist renderings not only focus on the shopping district only, but clearly avoid showing the extent of the building heights and the impact they will have on the surrounding streets and walkways.

(2) I have not observed one comment lobbying for elimination of the project. All opposition is aimed at scaling back the project. There is a reason the community plan was put in place and the reasons are just as material now as when they were initiated. Carmel Valley was never intended to be a city downtown. Yet that is what this project will look like if the building heights are retained.

(3) The argument for a stimulus to employment is a proposition that must be factored by the temporary nature of construction employment, and the likelihood that a significant portion of the permanent employment in the project itself will be from out of area residents, i.e., retail, office and hotel minimum wage jobs. This only adds to the concern of the overwhelming traffic impacts on the area.

(4) There are no other buildings in this area with the heights that Kilroy proposes. The only buildings even close are the Marriott and US Bank at the far south end of El Camino at the 56 interchange. High Bluff and El Camino are essentially limited to two and three stories.

(5) Not one argument is made for the need for a five-story hotel. The hotels in the area are concentrated in a “hotel district.” Currently an additional hotel is being constructed in the Valley Center, El Camino Real area, bringing the number to four hotels.

(6) Those commenting on the additional housing are realtors and real estate-related persons who stand to benefit from the inclusion of additional housing. There is a cogent argument being made that our recreation opportunities are currently underserved, and that must be considered and mitigated. Additionally, original developers in Carmel Valley built schools as part of their approvals. I have not heard of any such proposal here.

My opinion: One Paseo should not be approved as proposed. The project should retain the shopping element as that is what the residents want. The building heights should be scaled back to no more than four stories. The hotel component should be eliminated. The housing component should only be approved if the developer can provide additional park, recreation and school facilities.

Judy G. Keim

Carmel Valley