DEL MAR — Despite an approximately 400,000-square-foot reduction in the size of a proposed mixed-use development in Carmel Valley, Del Mar City Council members reiterated the same issues they had about the project in their third response to environmental impact reports.
Commenting on the draft and recirculated EIRs for One Paseo, the city sent letters in May 2012 and December 2013 outlining concerns about traffic, emergency response times and neighborhood character.
At the Sept. 15 meeting, council members unanimously agreed as part of the consent calendar to send a similar letter to San Diego’s Planning Commission for an Oct. 2 hearing held to respond to the final EIR.
Kilroy Realty Corporation originally proposed an approximately 1.8 million-gross-square-foot development with retail and office buildings, a 150-room hotel and more than 600 multifamily residential units.
It featured public open spaces, internal roadways and parking structures. Some buildings were proposed to be 10 stories high.
Myriad groups expressed concerns about the size and density of the project — the almost 24-acre lot on the southwest corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real is currently zoned to allow about 510,000 gross square feet of office uses — so Kilroy scaled it back.
Current plans call for a nearly 1.5-million-gross-square-foot development with about 198,500 gross square feet of commercial retail space, almost 500,000 gross square feet of commercial offices, a 50,000-square-foot cinema and 608 multifamily units.
The most recent letter, signed by Mayor Lee Haydu, states the city’s concern that as traffic backs up at the Interstate 5 on- and off-ramps on Del Mar Heights Road, motorists will use Camino del Mar, “as they currently do when either the freeway or the onramps are congested.”
“This has a tremendous impact on the City of Del Mar and local traffic in its downtown village,” the letter states.
Council members ask that project alternatives that reduce the impacts on regional traffic be explored.
According to its website, Kilroy plans to invest more than $6 million in state-of-the-art traffic improvements in the corridor. The development will also provide opportunities for a private shuttle, community access to Coaster stations and car- and bike-sharing programs.
Del Mar officials also note the final EIR does not adequately address the impacts to emergency public services.
San Diego’s Fire Station 24 is the identified provider for One Paseo. Del Mar’s Fire Station 1 “has a significant call volume” that supplements Station 24, the letter states. “An increase in service calls due to the new development will exacerbate this current situation.”
The city requests that an emergency response study be conducted. At a minimum it should take into consideration existing response times for both fire stations, the impact the project and its anticipated traffic congestion would have on response times by both departments and suggestions such as improved road widths and fire lanes that could reduce response times.
The city also “strongly agrees” that the revised project is still “significantly inconsistent with the low-scale and low-intensity character of the immediate vicinity.”
According to the letter, Del Mar officials support projects that encourage mixed-use environments, pedestrian-oriented spaces and sustainable buildings.
So in the letter they ask the city of San Diego to continue working with Kilroy and the Carmel Valley Planning Group, which opposed the revised proposal, to create a project with “significantly reduced community impacts.”