Paseo Pearls, Piazzas, Platoons

By Bud Emerson

On Thursday, Aug. 8, the One Paseo project presented a parade of project planners who patronized people of Carmel Valley with pretty pictures of pods, piazzas, pearls and platoons purporting to placate problems posed by their project plans. Pardon my p’s, but it was pathetic.

Seriously, it was insulting to the audience of well more than 200 for Kilroy developers to rhapsodize about this gargantuan project without addressing real facts and figures about its impact on the community’s quality of life. This proposal is three times the square footage allowed by the zoning in the adopted community plan, a whopping 1.4 million. Ten-story buildings. Traffic counts on surrounding roads that add up to an “F” rating where gridlock already exists at peak commuting times. It is three times as large as UTC.

It was disappointing to hear the weak questioning that came from members of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board that will eventually vote on this proposal. Only Ann Harvey spoke forcefully about how inadequate the presentation was in proposing “public benefits” that would justify the extraordinary upzone. Bob Fuchs, of “What Price Mainstreet?’ summed it up in less than a minute, “Very nice icing, but the cake gives the community indigestion!”

It’s cumulative impact on the region will be even greater when you add it to the increases already allowed at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center center across the street, the enlarged UTC, the bigger Vons center on Del Mar Heights Road, and the expanding Flower Hill center on Via de la Valle. Add in the fairgrounds growth aspirations and expansions up the freeway on two Lomas Santa Fe shopping center properties and we look much like Orange County — multiple shopping centers off of every highway exit.

One wonders how many shoppers it will take to support all of these outlets. This at a time when trend lines show huge increases in online shopping — only buildings that are needed are warehouses to ship products to our door fronts.

It was especially disappointing to see that Kilroy’s payroll has roped in former respected San Diego urban planner Mike Stepner, along with faculty of UCSD’s New School of Architecture to sing their praises. Kilroy seems to be in a full court press to ram this proposal through.

One piece of encouraging news came out of the meeting. A decision by disgraced Mayor Filner will be implemented. The Environmental Impact Report will need to be redone to analyze a potential project alternative of 600-800,000 square feet. Such an alternative with emphasize on controlling traffic impacts might be the answer the community seems to be looking for.

Continued citizen vigilance is critical. is a good resource to keep informed and involved. It is our community — let’s protect it.