What Does “One Paseo” Have to Do With Ocean Beach?

by on April 6, 2015 · 11 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

One-Paseo-Slider-2.jpgOB Planning Board Takes a Stand Against Carmel Valley Project

By Lois Lane

On Wednesday, April 1, the Ocean Beach Planning Board had a somewhat mystifying item on the agenda when the opposition to One Paseo, a Carmel Valley project, requested a slot.

When the time came, the applicants’ representative, Marcella Escobar-Eck was there to defend the project, and Jeff Powers from Protect San Diego Neighborhoods to request assistance from the board. This road show had a trial performance at the Peninsula Planning Board, and this was more of the same. But what does this have to do with Ocean Beach?

One Paseo lies in the Northern reaches of the City of San Diego, not quite to Del Mar, at Del Mar  Heights Road and El Camino Real. This project was described by Jeff Powers as the largest mixed used project in California without public transit – 608 units.

One Paseo was rejected by four community planning groups, vetoed by the Planning Commission, but approved by the city council on appeal. There also seems to be financial backing for this opposition group – they were able to fund a signature gathering initiative for a referendum similar to Barrio Logan, and the signatures are being counted now. Mr. Powers is a former News Anchor for Channel 6 San Diego.

Marcela Escobar-Eck, the Kilroy consultant, spoke of the eco-friendly LEEDS certified development, of promised public parks and free shuttles. [Ms. Escobar-Eck’s has a mildly checkered career as a development consultant, having served as a Chief Deputy Director in the city’s Development Services overseeing the transfer of the Naval Training Center to what became Liberty Station – the largest public land give-away in recent San Diego history, and was involved in selling SeaWorld’s splashdown ride to local communities.]

But what does this have to do with Ocean Beach? Apparently there are two things: setting a precedent, and ignoring the community planning process.

John Ambert, in his new role as Chair, nimbly controlled the clash of opposing forces, and then the planning board itself took up the debate. Although every member attempted to see both sides, most ultimately could not support the One Paseo developer position.

Two motions passed. One, a statement provided by Protect San Diego Neighborhoods was modified to reflect the Board’s statement of concerns of the project and passed 7-2. Basically, it called on the City Council “to reconsider approval of One Paseo”.  Here is the key wording of the approved  resolution:

“… Board hereby expresses its concern that the City Council’s approval of One Paseo threatens the integrity of the City of San Diego’s entire community planning process, its community plans and its community planning boards;

and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Ocean Beach Planning Board urges the San Diego City Council to reconsider approval of One Paseo in light of the potential precedent-setting impact of this approval. “

Resolution Expressing Concern on the Approval of the One Paseo Project in Carmel Valley

The second, a letter drafted by Tom Gawronski to Lori Zapf as our council member and addressing the specific issues of respecting the community planning process, passed unanimously. Here is the approved Letter lto Councilmember Lorie Zapf on City Council Approval of the One Paseo Project in Carmel Valley.

This is clearly a case of big money. The developer, Kilroy, has a huge amount invested. The opposition is funded by a nearby shopping center with its own financial interests. The local communities are opposed – and many planning committees around the city are concerned with the process and how local voices were squelched.

What would happen if this kind of developer came to OB and had purchased the properties to build a new Newport Avenue? Could we only complain and watch? How much money does it take to protect a community?

Here are a couple articles from all that have been written elsewhere:

San Diego Reader Big money talking in One Paseo Ballot war

Supervisor Dave Roberts – “My Mind is made up – One Paseo is not Smart Growth “



{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie April 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Escobar-Eck….helped give away NTC!

Eck used to get the security guards at the NTC meetings to escort people out of the room for video taping or speaking up. Such a charming “lady”.

The board should have thrown them all out of the room!


Debbie April 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm

So why did she leave or have to leave her post with the city?



Geoff Page April 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

At least now, Ms. Escobar-Eck is being honest in that she is currently a lobbyist for developers, which she also was when she worked for the City, but just was not honest about it.


Norma Damashek April 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

One Paseo was sold to a compliant Planning Commission and City Council under the magic umbrella called “Smart Growth.”
Never mind that the project size and density drastically exceed the community’s approved plan. Never mind that a basic tenet of smart growth is”transit-oriented” development. Never mind that the project lies in a traffic-overburdened community totally devoid of public transit. Never mind that there are no plans in the works to bring future public transit to this region.
Only in SD can city officials and influential real estate developers bald-facedly deceive the public with impunity – particularly when heavy-handed construction projects like this one are involved. Today it’s happening here. Tomorrow it will be coming to a neighborhood near you.


Korla Eaquinta April 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm

I have experience with the “honesty” of the lobbyist for the developers of One Paseo. Following is what I said at the recent CPC meeting on March 24th.

Last week I was entering Trader Joe’s at Liberty Station when I was approached by a man asking me to sign a petition on One Paseo. Before he could finish his sentence we were accosted by a woman shouting at me NOT to sign the petition. I was not the only one getting yelled at and pushed around. It turned into a free for all kind of brawl. I believe in free speech but not in bullying on the sidewalk.

?That evening at the PCPB board meeting both sides spoke about One Paseo. In front of the entire room, Marcella Escobar Eck who works for Kilroy told me my experience that day didn’t happen! Imagine my surprise!

I don’t know all the details of this project but I do know that without
PUBLIC transit, against the recommendation of 4 planning boards
and to the objection of thousands of citizens, the city council voted to approve this project.

It sets a precedent that could affect us all as we could be ignored at any time for any project. The whole thing scares me and I worry that we will see violence soon. One Paseo should be placed on the ballot so the people can decide.


Geoff Page April 7, 2015 at 8:54 am

Well said. I think I’ll mosey on over to Trader Joe’s and see if they yell at me.


South Park April 6, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Excellent coverage of this odd yet predictable tactic of the One Paseo marketeers. The conclusion that it is an attempt to set a precedent and to diminish the impact of community planning groups seems right. This type of side-ways insertion into the community groups is not new, but this time it is blatant, rather than sneaky.

As to the ridiculous loss of meaning of “smart growth” and to Escobar-Eck’s denial that Korla E.’s experience ever happened, author Sofi Oksanen says it perfectly:
“Propaganda is the loss of language.”


sean M April 7, 2015 at 10:14 am

San Diego objects to private high density housing but wants the government to build affordable housing, however NIMBY.


Geoff Page April 7, 2015 at 10:36 am

Since when does anyone want “the government” to build affordable housing? Developers have to build affordable housing, not government. Unfortunately, the incentives set up to encourage developers to include affordable housing in developments do not work.

People wanting to protect a certain quality of life they have achieved should not be tagged with the NIMBY appellation. There are places where this does not make sense because real estate is expensive and highly desirable. How about stop calling people names and coming up with realistic suggestions?


Matt DeVol April 7, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Makes you truly wonder about the City Council members of this fine City. One Paseo was rejected by four local planning groups, the local City Council representative, and the City Planning Commission. Regardless, 7 of 9 San Diego City Councilmen voted to approve this highly inappropriate project for this site on appeal.

If community members and the city planning approval processes failed to influence how their neighborhood is built out…….who is influencing those 7 of 9 Councilmen? 60,000 petition signers have challenged the San Diego City Council to answer that question.


Jarvis Ross April 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Excellent piece in the O.B. Rag and foregoing comments. As a member of the PCPBoard I was greatly disappointed in the board majorities vote not to request the city council to reconsider. Unfortunately the potential impacts of a developer being able to package a zoning change along with a project appeared not to be understood by not only our new board members but some old ones. As for Escobar-Eck I still recall when she was a city employee and assisted McMillin in ducking out of the promises that developer made in return for getting NTC(Liberty Station) for less than $10. When we expressed concerns she responded by saying, “Sue Us” (the city).


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