Kilroy Realty has proposed building One Paseo, a multi-use development, in Carmel Valley.

Because the massive project is much bigger than the zoning allows, approving One Paseo requires a City Council vote.

The vote would effectively amend Carmel Valley’s community plan to allow for the project. Only the City Council can vote to change the plan, but ahead of that vote, Kilroy will bring the project before the Carmel Valley Planning Board and the citywide planning commission to hold their own votes, which serve as recommendations to the Council.

The community planning area for Torrey Pines neighbors the proposed One Paseo location. But the planning group for that area can’t officially weigh in on the plan since the project is outside its borders.

Kilroy Realty has insisted that only Carmel Valley’s Planning Board has a vote on the One Paseo project, excluding all other impacted residents outside of Carmel Valley. This is true, but shrouds the true nature of One Paseo’s impact on regional traffic congestion, especially as it relates to emergency response times for Fire Station 24 on Del Mar Heights Road.

The city’s Development Services Department has clearly indicated that the One Paseo project is tied to specific roadway improvements called mitigation measures. These mitigation measures must be in place before building permits are issued.

The I-5/SR-56 Connector project is on the list of mitigation measures and includes the removal of the Del Mar Heights Bridge, and the construction of a new bridge and connector ramps from I-5 to SR-56.

Caltrans plans construction on this project to start in the year 2020 and finish by 2030. But the project remains unfunded.

Now the rub: Development Services indicates that building permits would not be deferred in the event that the City Council adopts a Statement of Overriding Considerations relative to impacts on traffic, since these mitigations are beyond the control of the city and the project applicant.

Therefore, the reality of the situation is that the nine City Council members can chose to ignore the facts about traffic and approve One Paseo.

Only Councilwoman Sherri Lightner lives in District 1, and in La Jolla. San Diego’s mayor and county supervisor do not get votes. The Carmel Valley Board’s vote is only advisory, as is the city’s planning commission.

So, none of the City Council members actually lives in or around Carmel Valley or Torrey Pines, but can use their votes to affect our lives and safety for the next 15 years.

Dennis Ridz is chairman of the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board. Ridz’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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