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I’m disappointed Council President Sherri Lightner has delayed the vote on Kilroy Realty’s project to build offices, shops, restaurants and condos on 23 acres in Carmel Valley.

The decision on One Paseo has major regional implications and Lightner’s decision to delay the vote smacks of pandering to her affluent constituents.

No matter her view on the project, pulling the public notice from going out when it was supposed to, thus preventing the hearing from taking place on Jan. 27, seems an abuse of the power entrusted to her. The position of Council president should be above board, and Lightner should be taking pains to oversee it judiciously for what is best for all of San Diego.

She claims the reason for delaying this long-scheduled vote is that community members have asked her to hold the meeting in the Carmel Valley community. This seems an inflammatory move, placating Carmel Valley residents and bending over backward to apply pressure to her Council colleagues.

Will she give the same option to other communities, or does this deference only apply to her affluent district?

More important than the precedent this sets is whether it’s appropriate to hold this meeting in Carmel Valley.

While the issue modifies the Carmel Valley community plan, which was adopted in the 1970s, it’s one of the first projects to come forward that adheres to the “City of Villages” smart-growth strategy in the city’s general plan that was updated in 2008. So it’s critical that the City Council consider the project’s value not just for Carmel Valley, but for the greater good of the entire city and its long-term planning strategy.

Projects like One Paseo can contribute to healthy growth in San Diego. It’s simply a fact that the region will add about a million people in the next 35 years.

We must prepare for that reality with projects like One Paseo that add well-planned, walkable, multifamily housing to our neighborhoods. This kind of project is necessary to ensure and secure San Diego’s economic relevance well into the future.

Anthony Wagner is a planning commissioner for the city of San Diego. Wagner’s note has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.

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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