Opponents of the One Paseo project line up outside City Hall before Tuesday's City Council meeting. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Opponents of the One Paseo project line up outside City Hall before Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Photo by Chris Jennewein

After a marathon seven-hour session, with hundreds of opponents and supporters in attendance, the San Diego City Council on Monday approved the controversial $750 million One Paseo project in Carmel Valley.

On a motion from new Councilman Chris Cate, the council voted 7-2 to approve the mixed-use project with the addition of affordable housing on site, traffic-control improvements and early start-up of a shuttle bus to the nearest Coaster station.

The approval came despite strong opposition from Council President Sherri Lightner, who represents the affluent neighborhood in northwest San Diego. Lightner had criticized the project as “three times too big” and said it will create “horrendous” traffic. “It’s unfortunate the City Council is forced to consider a project with such strong opposition,” she said.

One Paseo includes 199,000 square feet of retail space, a movie theater, 484,000 square feet of office space and 608 residences on a 23.6-acre site south of Del Mar Heights Road, between El Camino Real and High Bluff Drive.

One Paseo site looking northeast toward Del Mar Heights Town Center. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The project by Kilroy Realty would be composed of 10 buildings ranging from two- to nine-stories with nearly 3,700 parking spaces. The design also has nearly 11 acres of open space, including a town green, pocket parks and walking paths.

Opponents, who organized the group What Price Main Street?, argued the development would destroy the character of the neighborhood with its “urban size and scale” and bring unbearable traffic.

“We’re not NIMBYs. We’re not trying to kill this project,” said said Ken Farinsky, the top spokesman for the opposition. “But this project is too big.”

Proponents said the project would be a signature example of smart, high-density growth in San Diego, bringing 2,800 construction jobs and 1,600 permanent jobs.

“One Paseo stands to be one of the most progressive and sustainable projects that San Diego will every see,” said Marcela Escobar-Eck, a land use consultant for Kilroy. “This is the right project in the right place.”

Councilmember Marti Emerald, who along with Lightner voted against the project, said she expected it to create traffic gridlock. “It’s too big, and also it sets a precedent,” she said.

Kilroy representatives said 250 people had filled out cards to speak in support of the project, and opponents estimated 250 to 300 were speaking against it.

The San Diego Planning Commission conditionally approved the project in October and forwarded it to the City Council for final action.

City News Service contributed to this article.

A rendering of the One Paseo project’s “main street.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.