The community has spoken. Now it's time for San Diego's planning commission to decide the fate of One Paseo, Kilroy Realty’s proposed mixed-use development planned for Carmel Valley.
Earlier this month, on September 12, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board rejected the 1.5-million-square-foot commercial and residential development in an 11-2 vote.
On Thursday, October 2, planning commissioners will decide whether or not to approve the project and send it to the city council for a final decision. In order to do so, commissioners will have to approve amending current zoning laws that prohibit developments over 500,000 square feet.
The development has been hanging over the heads of residents for years. Not long after learning of the project, a faction of residents immediately took to the streets in opposition to the project. In 2012, residents disapproved of what they said was an attempt by the developer to silence them by hiring a public relations firm to create fake grassroots campaigns intended to make “NIMBYs and naysayers irrelevant,” according to their website, as reported by the Reader.
The so-called astroturf campaign wasn't all. The Los Angeles–based developer has spent over $1 million on local lobbyists to grease the wheels at city hall. In response, residents drafted a petition to help defeat the proposal. They have since gathered 2295 signatures.
But opponents have some obstacles in convincing a predominately pro-development planning commission to reject One Paseo. Planning commissioner Sue Peerson's husband is a senior land-use consultant for the Atlantis Group, a lobbyist firm run by former development services director Marcela Escobar-Eck, which has lobbied city officials on Kilroy's behalf. In a May 2013 statement Peerson said she would sit out discussions concerning One Paseo.
"I intend to recuse myself at any planning commission hearings regarding this project,” she said.
Rachel Laing, lobbyist and public relations person for Kilroy (and the press secretary for Jerry Sanders when he was mayor) says the planning commission and city will be better off if they approve the project. She says the opposition doesn't represent the community.
"One Paseo’s opposition is funded by Donahue Schriber, which owns the Del Mar Highlands Town Center and does not want competition for their nearly complete retail dominance of Carmel Valley. As many of their tenants would tell you, when you’re the only landlord in town, you have a lot of power to command whatever rents and provide whatever conditions you want. What else would compel Donahue Schriber to spend so much money — more than $100,000, by their own on-the-record admission to 10News — on misleading mailers, a website, and newspaper ads, not to mention the very costly lawyers at Sheppard Mullin and Southwest Strategies' lobbying machine?…
"Carmel Valley residents have expressed tremendous support for One Paseo, especially those young professionals and families with school age children.
In addition, One Paseo makes economic sense for our region. It will add an estimated 1,600 permanent jobs and $630 million in economic activity. It puts just over 600 housing units into the northern part of the city without sprawl, and it will inject about $1 million per year in new tax revenue to the city’s general fund."
The planning commission meets in council chambers at city hall at 9 a.m.