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Smaller One Paseo project heads toward approval

Peace in Carmel Valley as neighbors give long-delayed nod

Call it "Two Paseo" — the reduced-size One Paseo development planned for Carmel Valley
Call it "Two Paseo" — the reduced-size One Paseo development planned for Carmel Valley

After a four-year-long feud with Carmel Valley neighbors and several lawsuits, a new scaled-down version of Kilroy Realty's One Paseo development will likely be approved.

On June 27, city councilmembers will be asked to approve the pared-down project, which includes 608 residential units, 280,000 square feet of office space, and 95,871 square feet of retail space to be built on 23.6 acres on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.

The new proposal from Los Angeles–based Kilroy Realty is a vastly different project than the one the developer pitched in 2012. Initial plans called for 806,000 square feet of retail and office space — nearly three times the square footage currently proposed. In addition, the developer planned to build a movie theater and a 150-room hotel.

Carmel Valley residents weren't happy with the plans. Nor were they thrilled about the tactics Kilroy used to push the project through.

As reported by the Reader, Kilroy hired a Santa Barbara–based public relations firm that specialized in creating fake grassroots campaigns ("astroturfing") aimed at defeating NIMBY opposition. The developer threw pizza parties for supporters, hired precinct walkers to go door-to-door looking for support for their project, and formed political action committees to influence elected officials.

Kilroy's tactics paid off, at least for a brief period. In February 2015, city councilmembers approved what was a slightly scaled-down version of the development. Neighbors teamed up with Donahue Schriber, the owner of the adjacent shopping plaza, to launch a signature drive with the goal of overturning the council's decision at the ballot box.

Faced with an expensive referendum, the city council agreed to reconsider the project. Meanwhile, attorneys for Kilroy had begun to file a number of lawsuits against the city for their previous approvals of building permits issued to the neighboring shopping plaza.

Then, in May 2015, Kilroy Realty, Donahue Schriber, and residents reached an agreement. Kilroy agreed to reduce the size of One Paseo and drop the lawsuits if residents supported the project. Now, four years after the initial plans, the council has been asked to put an end to the tussle and approve the project during a June 27 hearing inside city hall.

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Call it "Two Paseo" — the reduced-size One Paseo development planned for Carmel Valley
Call it "Two Paseo" — the reduced-size One Paseo development planned for Carmel Valley

After a four-year-long feud with Carmel Valley neighbors and several lawsuits, a new scaled-down version of Kilroy Realty's One Paseo development will likely be approved.

On June 27, city councilmembers will be asked to approve the pared-down project, which includes 608 residential units, 280,000 square feet of office space, and 95,871 square feet of retail space to be built on 23.6 acres on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.

The new proposal from Los Angeles–based Kilroy Realty is a vastly different project than the one the developer pitched in 2012. Initial plans called for 806,000 square feet of retail and office space — nearly three times the square footage currently proposed. In addition, the developer planned to build a movie theater and a 150-room hotel.

Carmel Valley residents weren't happy with the plans. Nor were they thrilled about the tactics Kilroy used to push the project through.

As reported by the Reader, Kilroy hired a Santa Barbara–based public relations firm that specialized in creating fake grassroots campaigns ("astroturfing") aimed at defeating NIMBY opposition. The developer threw pizza parties for supporters, hired precinct walkers to go door-to-door looking for support for their project, and formed political action committees to influence elected officials.

Kilroy's tactics paid off, at least for a brief period. In February 2015, city councilmembers approved what was a slightly scaled-down version of the development. Neighbors teamed up with Donahue Schriber, the owner of the adjacent shopping plaza, to launch a signature drive with the goal of overturning the council's decision at the ballot box.

Faced with an expensive referendum, the city council agreed to reconsider the project. Meanwhile, attorneys for Kilroy had begun to file a number of lawsuits against the city for their previous approvals of building permits issued to the neighboring shopping plaza.

Then, in May 2015, Kilroy Realty, Donahue Schriber, and residents reached an agreement. Kilroy agreed to reduce the size of One Paseo and drop the lawsuits if residents supported the project. Now, four years after the initial plans, the council has been asked to put an end to the tussle and approve the project during a June 27 hearing inside city hall.

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3

It's speculation of course, but did Kilroy end up with an approval of just about what it wanted all along? What they did was plumb the opposition to determine just what could get approval, I think. Start with something that's ridiculously large, then by degrees, cut it down until the howling stops. It won't be the first time one of these proposals was floated, trimmed, re-floated, trimmed some more, re-floated again, and so on, until they had something that the opponents would accept with resignation.

The traffic in that spot can be just impossible at times, and anything added to it will make it worse. What is it that makes that Del Mar Highlands area so desirable? It sure isn't the country atmosphere nowadays.

June 13, 2016

Astroturfing is easier when the Chairman of the Carmel ValleynPlanning Board and the President of the City Council fail to ask speakers if they are on Kilroy's payroll. The same woman spoke repeatedly during a five-year period on behalf of One Paseo - even while she had a big website where she advertised her services on behalf of developers to create fake grassroots astroturfing and campaigns of writing letters to the editors of local newspapers in favor developers throughout Western States. This is unfair competition. It is illegal. Find out who "speakers" are. Request hearing officers to inquire about financial ties to the developer. A bona fide resident is not getting paid to speak. That's astroturfing.

The "revolving door" tactics of hiring the former head of the Development Services Department was also used by Kilroy when they hired Marcella Escobar Ecke as their chief lobbyist. A local war chest to effectively oppose developers would include costs for a website, environmental lawyers, a traffic engineer, and a media consultant. These costs would amount to at least one-half million dollars, not invluding gathering 63,000 signatures, going to trial, appeals, etc. These costs could amount to one and one-half million dollars or more. If all 60,000 people in the area contributed $20 a piece, this could be done. I think one person actually contributed $20. Her same $20 bill was returned to her.

The owners of the Del Mar Highlands Centre paid undisclosed amounts to reduce retail competition. The cheap-skate residents paid zero. A few dedicated residents fought back for more like six years without any pay or favors whatsoever. Some of these were professionals. They reduced the traffic of the project significantly. Same number of condo and some retail and business and commercial will be approved, but will less retail that brings in traffic from all over the county.

When the developers come to your neighborhood, get a legal defense fund going. Hire a good environmental lawfirm. Put up a website. The metric now is vehicle miles traveled, not additional daily automobile trips. If your neighborhood has convenient access to an established system of public transportation, you are looking at Smart Growth and Transit-oriented Development ("TOD") policies that encourage density along established transit corridors. Parking is to be restricted to force use of bikes, pedestrian and public transit modes to reduce greenhouse emissions. These policies have already become law in Sacramento. One Paseo grandfathered in under widening streets and paying into a fund.

If you live in an area where you have even bus service, get ready for high-rise, little parking, dense development, and a change in the character of your neighborhood. Be prepared to walk, bike, or use public transportation. That is the law.

You must educate yourselves as to the new policies for Smart Growth and TOD.

June 15, 2016

You are obviously well informed on these matters. Bus service is not seen by many people as viable public transportation or any kind of transportation at all. The MTS buses are slow, and chronically run late. But beyond that, in many areas like San Diego, the middle class simply will not ride buses. To those folks, buses are for the poor, kids, elderly and generally poor people. In other words, riffraff ride buses, and nice people don't. I suppose if there's no choice then some will ride buses, even though they can't stand the idea. But reliance on bus service to justify increased density is a very shaky argument.

June 15, 2016

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