The City Council on Monday gave final approval to a 23.6-acre mixed-use housing, retail and office project that opponents contend will destroy northwest San Diego’s affluent Carmel Valley neighborhood.
The action, on a 6-1 vote, came after paperwork was filed with the City Clerk’s office to establish a committee to seek petition signatures in an effort to stop the $750 million One Paseo development.
Opponents contend the project — which will encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet of floor space, including shops, offices and more than 600 housing units south of Del Mar Heights Road, between El Camino Real and High Bluff Drive — will cause a massive influx of traffic to an already congested part of town.
The development by Kilroy Realty consists of 10 buildings ranging from two to nine stories and includes a movie theater, landscaping and nearly 3,700 parking spaces.
The council voted 7-2 in favor of the project last month, but only if the developer designated about 60 residences as affordable housing units and found a way to lighten the resultant traffic.
Around 400 people, including some current and former elected officials, attended the Feb. 23 council meeting to speak about the proposed development over about six hours of public testimony.
Council President Sherri Lightner, who cast a dissenting vote last month and was the lone opponent the second time around, said the project is three times denser than allowed for in the area’s community zoning plan. The council’s approval also created a “spot zone” that doesn’t exist anywhere else in San Diego, she said.
“Since the community planning process was ignored in the creation of this new zone, I’m concerned this sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to other new spot zones popping up citywide that are not supported by the surrounding community,” Lightner said.
Councilman David Alvarez, however, said the project conformed with the objectives of the citywide zoning plan, and pointed out that the one for Carmel Valley is 41 years old.
“Hopefully, and I think this is a goal for all of the City Council members, we will see more and more community plan (updates) come forward so that we, perhaps … will avoid situations like the one we are in today,” Alvarez said.
Marcela Escobar-Eck, a land-use consultant for the developer, said floor space was reduced from 1.8 million square feet, and the height of the tallest buildings was lowered by 10 percent. The design also includes nearly 11 acres of open space, including a town green, pocket parks and walking paths, she said.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who cast a dissenting vote last month, and Councilman Todd Gloria, who was supportive, were absent from Monday’s meeting.
— City News Service