SAN DIEGO — The City Council Monday was scheduled to cast a final vote on a 23.6-acre mixed-use housing, retail and office project that opponents say will destroy northwest San Diego’s affluent Carmel Valley neighborhood.
The $750 million One Paseo development would encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet of floor space, including more than 600 units of homes, shops and offices south of Del Mar Heights Road, between El Camino Real and High Bluff Drive.
The project by Kilroy Realty would be composed of 10 buildings ranging from two to nine stories and include a movie theater, landscaping and nearly 3,700 parking spaces.
The council voted 7-2 vote in favor of the project last month, but only if the developer designated about 60 residences as affordable housing and a way is found 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, for which plans have been in the works for several years.
Opponents, who created a website contended the development would destroy the affluent neighborhood in northwest San Diego. Their concerns centered on increased traffic in an already congested area, saying it could hamper emergency response times. Many said they could accept a scaled-down project.
Marcela Escobar-Eck, a land use consultant for the developer, said floor space has already been 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.
“The project … is the product of six years of community engagement, which resulted in considerable refinements to get to the right balance of uses that will enhance the community life and deliver much-needed middle-class housing near the major job centers in the northern part of the city,” Escobar- Eck said.
Supporters said the development fits in with the “City of Villages” land use concept approved by the City Council several years ago to guide so-called “urban in-fill” projects.
Brian Brady, senior project manager for Kilroy Realty and a Carmel Valley Planning Board member, said there was overwhelming support for One Paseo, and inaccurate statements regarding traffic, scale and land use issues were “thrown out there” with no reasoning behind them.
In a scathing response following the approximately six hours of public testimony and council debate, City Council President Sherri Lightner said the project would “dramatically alter the character of the neighborhood” and cause “horrendous and unmitigable traffic impacts.”
However, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said One Paseo would bring more affordable housing for middle class residents, and the area would benefit from the retail and office areas.
“We need places for our teachers, our police officers, our military families, where they can afford something without sinking half their income into a place and also not have to work two jobs,” Zapf said.