Aguirre: Building One Paseo Will Cause ‘Loss of Life’

Aguirre: Building One Paseo Will Cause ‘Loss of Life’

Rendering courtesy of Kilroy Realty

A rendering of One Paseo, a mixed-use development in Carmel Valley.

So far, the tensions over One Paseo have largely centered on things like traffic, community character and being a good neighbor.

This week, it suddenly became an issue of life and death.

The Torrey Pines Community Planning Board held a meeting Thursday to discuss what would happen to its community if developers were allowed to proceed with One Paseo, a proposed project of 1.4 million square feet spread across offices, stores, housing and outdoor space on a 23-acre parcel in neighboring Carmel Valley.

The Torrey Pines planning group really doesn’t have any say on a project in an adjacent neighborhood.

That was the subject of the group’s meeting on Thursday.

Specifically, the group wants to know why the city hasn’t examined the effect the project will have on emergency response times in Torrey Pines. The group says it invited all the mayoral candidates to hear their concerns. Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre was the only one to show up.

It also invited members of the city’s development services department and Kilroy Realty, the project developer; both declined. The assigned city planner for the area, Bernie Turgeon, did show up.

Torrey Pines, located immediately west of Carmel Valley, relies on Station 24 for its emergency response. Station 24 is on Del Mar Heights Road, just east of the One Paseo project sight, at Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.

Much of the opposition to One Paseo stems from its effect on traffic in the area. The Torrey Pines group has taken that idea a step further: Gridlock traffic stops emergency response vehicles too. The project requires approving an amendment to the Carmel Valley community plan, approved in 1978, that only allows for 500,000 square feet of office space on the parcel in question.

“We as a community of Torrey Pines are directly impacted by what happens in Carmel Valley,” said Dennis Ridz, chair of the planning group. “We can choose not to drive over there if it’s too busy. But we have no choice when it comes to emergency fire and rescue coming to us.”

“Station 24, which is almost kitty-corner to the project, is our emergency service, and Del Mar Heights Road is basically our emergency lifeline.”

Enter Aguirre, who wanted to give the Torrey Pines group some advice.

“What’s going to happen is, if they build this thing, someone’s going to — exactly like you said — some kind of loss of life, there’s going to be some kind of incredible cost to people because of the enormous traffic, it’ll have an effect on the economy, it’ll have an effect on getting back and forth, it’s going to become a much worse situation, and that’s why they have the original zoning there to begin with,” Aguirre said.

The former city attorney also said he was offering some legal advice: The group should start making public records requests for correspondence between the developer and city officials, hire a lawyer and ask to update their community plan before anything else happens.

Here are a few other choice quotes during Aguirre’s 10-minute spiel to the board:

“You’ve got to understand the nature of the game that you’re in. One of the great strategists once said that the most important thing in war is to have combat experience. You’re in combat.”

“I did this with Rose Canyon, I did this with a big project in Hillcrest, I did this in Kensington, I did it when they tried to do this in La Jolla: It’s not that these people are evil, it’s that they’re smart.

“You said you’re a Chargers fan? Well you’re playing Dallas, baby. You’re playing Denver. You’ve gotta get your helmet strapped and get in there. You’re just standing up for your property values.”

“What I already picked up here, is, you guys, no offense intended, are house kitties, and they are alley cats. And you’ve got to get your house kitties, and your alley cats, and organize yourselves as a force.”

Aguirre left, and the meeting continued.

The group resolved to send a letter to the city and Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents the community, to voice its extreme displeasure in not having its emergency response issues considered thus far during the approval process.

It also voted to form an ad hoc committee to draft comments for the project’s environmental report, which is currently in its 45-day public review period, after which the approval process will resume.

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Andrew Keatts

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

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14 comments
James Weber
James Weber subscriber

Do you own a car? How often do you use public transportation?

Diogenes
Diogenes

Amazing how someone can grab headlines by speaking truth to power. Unlike Filner, the developers who run the city cannot make Mike go away.

Fletcher, like Obama, wants to reach across the aisle and make an ill-advised compromise. Fletcher pretends that he has never heard of One Paseo. What city does he live in?

I am glad that there are a few good men left in the city who understand the power grab by developers throught the DSD and will stand up to it.

Yes, the traffic snarls will add to the emergency response times, people will die, and others will have increased commuting times just because Kilroy over-paid for this lot.

Their plans increase greenhouse emissions because more shoppers will drive their automobiles to this auto-dependent town center. Kilroy's "concept" is corporate profits.

This proposed development must be stopped before all other developers build similar projects.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross

Mike Aguirre consistently has stood up for the best interests of the general public. He did as city attorney and does in his comment regarding the Paseo project. Unfortunately this city has been run by developers and unions influence to the detriment of the general public. Both of them should have a place at the table but should not run the city. Mike Aguirre would see to that. This city's Developer services dept would permit too tall buildings in airplane flight paths, commercial buildings on quake zones, and homes on earth slide prone hills if....the developers donate to their mayoral candidate.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross subscribermember

Mike Aguirre consistently has stood up for the best interests of the general public. He did as city attorney and does in his comment regarding the Paseo project. Unfortunately this city has been run by developers and unions influence to the detriment of the general public. Both of them should have a place at the table but should not run the city. Mike Aguirre would see to that. This city's Developer services dept would permit too tall buildings in airplane flight paths, commercial buildings on quake zones, and homes on earth slide prone hills if....the developers donate to their mayoral candidate.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

Emergency response times will only be effected if the city keeps trying to force One Paseo to overbuild its parking lot, which in turn would encourage driving and create traffic congestion.

I say "overbuild" because the economically optimal amount of parking is that where the cost of building another space (marginal cost) equals the revenue facilitated by that space (marginal revenue), but San Diego thinks developers should build so much parking that the lot never gets full when the price is zero. It's an example of Big Government reducing our economic competitiveness, raising the price of housing, reducing wages, and increasing unemployment.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

Emergency response times will only be effected if the city keeps trying to force One Paseo to overbuild its parking lot, which in turn would encourage driving and create traffic congestion.

I say "overbuild" because the economically optimal amount of parking is that where the cost of building another space (marginal cost) equals the revenue facilitated by that space (marginal revenue), but San Diego thinks developers should build so much parking that the lot never gets full when the price is zero. It's an example of Big Government reducing our economic competitiveness, raising the price of housing, reducing wages, and increasing unemployment.

Diogenes
Diogenes

The issue is reducing greenhouse emissions, not whether I personally own a train, plane, or bicycle.

You may not accept the use of current laws mandating urban planners to adopt measures in ALL proposed proposed mixed use projects designated as town centers on the the SANDAG map to require that there be a mix of transportation.

There is proposed a single bus line in 2035, and, due to budget constraints, even that might not happen.

You fail to argue why One Paseo should be exempt from these new state and federal laws as reflected in SANDAG's policies. Are you arguing that KILROY REALTY Inc. be granted sacred cow status? If so, why?

Diogenes
Diogenes

Folks need to reduce greenhouse emissions by saying NO to 100% automobile dependent developments with.100%.automobile dependent mitigations.

Smart growth policies focus on a mix of transportation. If you are bored enough to read this, visit the SANDAG website and read it.

One Paseo is pre-Sixties ideas.

James Weber
James Weber

The large parking lots encourage driving, but the lots are never full? So they don't do a encourage enough driving? How much public transportation will serve this area? Do you own a car?

James Weber
James Weber subscriber

The large parking lots encourage driving, but the lots are never full? So they don't do a encourage enough driving? How much public transportation will serve this area? Do you own a car?

James Weber
James Weber

Do you own a car? How often do you use public transportation?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

@James Weber "The large parking lots encourage driving, but the lots are never full? So they don't do a encourage enough driving?"

If the price is always $0 and the parking lot never gets full, it encourages more driving than if the price were above $0 or if the parking lot ever got full.

"How much public transportation will serve this area?"

Not much, as long as the parking lots continue to be overbuilt and unpriced.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

@James Weber "The large parking lots encourage driving, but the lots are never full? So they don't do a encourage enough driving?"

If the price is always $0 and the parking lot never gets full, it encourages more driving than if the price were above $0 or if the parking lot ever got full.

"How much public transportation will serve this area?"

Not much, as long as the parking lots continue to be overbuilt and unpriced.