One Paseo opponents at the City Council meeting in Golden Hall. Photo by Chris Jennewein

A City Council vote on whether to proceed with a ballot referendum on the controversial One Paseo project was postponed because of a possible compromise between opposing developers.

Councilman David Alvarez, who represents south San Diego, sought the delay because he said a compromise that would reduce traffic in Carmel Valley was at hand.

Representatives of One Paseo developer Kilroy Realty and Donahue Schriber Realty Group, which owns the shopping center across the street and financed signature-gathering for the referendum, told the council they could not specifically discuss a possible compromise. But under questioning, they implied there was progress.

“More time is always helpful,” said Jeff Chine, an attorney for Kilroy.”We’re closer to home than not.”

Councilman Scott Sherman argued that it makes sense to take three more days and possibly save taxpayers money on a ballot referendum, which the city clerk estimated would cost nearly $900,000.

Council President Sherri Lightner, who represents Carmel Valley, said she opposed delaying a vote. “It’s unfair to the public to do this at the last moment when I know this has been going on for awhile,” she said, referring to the ongoing discussions.

The postponement until the next regular council meeting on Thursday was approved 7-2. At that time, the council could either rescind its approval of One Paseo or allow the referendum to proceed.

If the developers reach a compromise, and the council rescinds its vote, it would take approximately nine months for a compromise project to make it through the planning process.

Hundreds of supporters and opponents turned out for the special council meeting, which was moved to Golden Hall because of the expected crowd.

After the vote, members of a number of the city’s community planning groups said the precedent set by approval of One Paseo — and a delay in a vote to rescind it — threatened the integrity of the city’s community planning process.

“Two developers discussing a compromise does not represent our community,” said one member.

Before the vote, Councilman Todd Gloria asked Donahue Schriber representatives whether they were opposed to new retail development near their shopping center.

“I’m not opposed to retail on the site,” said Patrick S. Donahue, chairman and CEO of Donahue Schriber Realty Group. “We don’t believe the infrasture can handle the traffic.”

The $750 million One Paseo plan calls for 10 buildings encompassing nearly 1.5 million square feet of floor space, including shops, offices, a movie theater and more than 600 housing units south of Del Mar Heights Road, between El Camino Real and High Bluff Drive. It was approved on a pair of City Council votes earlier this year, by margins of 7-2 and 6-1.

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

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