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Carmel Valley Community Leaders Rejected  One Paseo Project.

Carmel Valley Residents Fear One Paseo Project is too dense with a mixed use theme.

Carmel Valley's One Paseo Project Voted Down By Planners.

Carmel Valley’s One Paseo Project Voted Down By Planners.

— Community leaders in Carmel Valley rejected Thursday night a mixed-use project that’s been called a key test case for future growth in San Diego.

While the Carmel Valley Community Planning Group’s 11-2 vote against the 23-acre One Paseo project is only advisory, it could persuade the San Diego Planning Commission and City Council to either reject the project or ask the developer to shrink it.

City planners say the $1 billion project is a strong example of “smart growth,” where dense developments get built along existing transportation corridors. The goal is adding enough housing for the city’s growing population without new subdivisions sprawling into rural areas.

But during a three-hour public hearing attended by about 400 people Thursday night, neighborhood leaders criticized the project as too intense for suburban Carmel Valley, located 20 miles north of downtown.

They said it would destroy the 35,000-resident community’s character by putting nine-story office buildings, towers of condominiums and a regional shopping center on a relatively small parcel.

City officials agree the project would worsen traffic congestion in the area and change the character of Carmel Valley. They say those drawbacks would be outweighed by the project’s economic boost and role in helping reduce San Diego’s severe housing shortage.

Residents said they feel city officials are asking for too much of a sacrifice from Carmel Valley.

“You want us to put up with so much and we get nothing,” said planning group member Hollie Kahn, contending that a bowling alley is the only new asset One Paseo would bring. “Are you willing to throw us under the bus for the benefit of San Diego?”

Planning group Chairman Frisco White said it appeared the city was allowing economic benefits to trump its interest in allowing Carmel Valley leaders to preserve their community’s ambience.

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