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San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner gathers signatures to place One Paseo on ballot

One Paseo opponents in final stretch for referendum to overturn the City Council’s 7-2 project approval

San Diego City Council President and La Jolla resident Sherri Lightner with One Paseo opponent and Community Planning Association trustee Janie Emerson.
San Diego City Council President and La Jolla resident Sherri Lightner with One Paseo opponent and Community Planning Association trustee Janie Emerson.
(Ashley Mackin)

For information on how and where to sign the petition, visit: www.protectsdneighborhoods.com/find-a-petition/

Opponents of the controversial One Paseo development proposed for Carmel Valley at Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real have launched a referendum seeking to overturn the San Diego City Council’s 7-2 vote to approve the project.

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Key among those opponents is San Diego City Council President and La Jolla resident Sherri Lightner, who was at Vons in La Jolla Friday collecting signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. The deadline to submit the 34,000 signatures needed to get the referendum on the June 2016 ballot is Wednesday, March 25.

“We’re here because we need to get more signatures on the petition so that it will come back to City Council,” she said. “This is an egregious overstepping by the developer on this particular project. Enough signatures will bring it back to the Council for discussion as to whether it should go on the ballot or actually rescind (its decision to approve). So it’s very, very important.”

La Jolla resident Cathy Jones said she signed because she was concerned that the influx of people to the development would mean additional water usage. “We have one year of water left for the state of California, so I’m sorry, but we don’t have enough water to bring in more people. … I don’t think this project is a good idea.”

In the past month, other La Jollans have gotten involved with the push to take the issue to San Diego voters, including Barbara Bry, one of at least two candidates who have stated their intent to run for Lightner’s City Council seat next year. During a recent La Jolla Town Council meeting Bry solicited signatures to get Kilroy Realty’s $1.4 million-square-foot complex of office buildings, condos and apartments, retail stores and restaurants on the ballot.

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Similarly, during the annual March trustee election meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, trustee Janie Emerson, who owns a condo in Del Mar’s East Bluff community, spoke about the what she feels the project’s impact would be on the region, gathering about 50 signatures that night.

Emerson said the project was approved by the City Council (sans Councilmembers Lightner and Marti Emerald) “over the objection of every planning group and community in the area.”

“We work our tails off and most of the other planning groups in this area, the Carmel Valley area and the Torrey Pines area, do the same thing. So, for the City Council to basically hang them out to dry I think sounds a huge alarm to every planning group in every community in San Diego. … That whole area has been meticulously planned out to avoid over-congestion, to have a nice ambiance,” Emerson told the Light, noting that before the Planning Commission forwarded the project to City Council for a vote, it recommended about a dozen changes to the “Smart Growth” project, which includes buildings at tall as nine stories and is not located near public transportation.

Emerson said traffic on Interstate 5 is already backed up during rush hour. “They’re going to add 23,000 more trips? That’s absurd. ...

“Make no mistake,” Emerson added, “Kilroy took a couple of the city council people out to their districts the week before this vote and showed them where they could do the same thing in their district. … If this happens there and gets approved by City Council, it can happen anyplace. … For La Jollans who are so organized and prideful of their community, I think it’s important for them to back another community who’s attempting to do the same thing, to get their ambiance to grow in an appropriate manner.”