3Roots Project Approved by Mira Mesa Community Planning Group

Jeff Stevens, Chair, Mira Mesa Community Planning Group

The 3Roots project, the first of two large projects in Carroll Canyon, was approved by the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group at the August 19, 2019 meeting, with some comments that we want the Planning Commission and City Council to consider. In general, this is a very good project. It is much improved over a previous project that was approved for this site in 1994. The new project removes a business park that was part of the old project, and adds a new 25 acre community park. This park will replace the park that was planned next to Challenger Middle School that could not be built because of vernal pools. Both the new and the old projects contain 1800 housing units, mostly multi-family housing, but the new project also includes some single-family housing. 10% of the units are reserved for low-income senior housing.

The project will build an important segment of Carroll Canyon Road that runs from west of Camino Santa Fe to the start of the existing road just west of Camino Ruiz, so this will complete the road segment from Camino Santa Fe to Camino Ruiz. This brings us to the first of our comments: the City needs to build the section of Carroll Canyon Road that runs though El Camino Memorial Park that will then complete Carroll Canyon Road from Interstate 805 to Camino Ruiz. This is a critical road segment to mitigate the traffic from the 3Roots project and take some of the existing traffic off Mira Mesa Blvd and Miramar Road. The project will generate enough money in FBA fees to pay for the road, but it is the City’s responsibility to build it. The developer, Mesa Canyon Community Partners, offered to design the El Camino road segment at the same time as they designed their road segment, but the City rejected the offer. This is extremely short-sighted and could potentially delay that road segment by several years.

The only significant disagreement that the Planning Group had with the developer is on construction of an overlook at the south end of Parkdale. The Mira Mesa Community Plan shows a 5 acre park at this location, and the original plans were for the developer to restore the site as part of the reclamation plan for the site after the end of gravel mining. This park is an FBA project and the FBA was to purchase the site from the developer. As presented to the Planning Group in the early stages of review, the FBA money would be redirected to offset some of the costs of building the new community park, and the Parkdale Park would be reduced to 2 acres, which would minimize their reclamation costs by limiting the park to areas that had not been graded. Last November, the project was revised to remove the park entirely, because the resource agencies did not want a park that close to the adjacent fenced vernal pools. With some reluctance, the Planning Group accepted that, but asked for a small overlook to be built overlooking Carroll Canyon just south of the south end of Parkdale. The developer has designed a nice trailhead for the trail that will go from Parkdale to Carroll Canyon, but it falls short of the overlook we requested.

There are a couple of final issues that the Planning Group addressed in comments: The new park has a site for a Recreation Center, and Planning Group recommended that the recreation center that was originally to be built by Challenger and then relocated to Mira Mesa Community Park, be built in the new 3Roots community park instead. Finally, both this project and the larger Stone Creek project to the east were planned from the outset as transit oriented projects, including building transit stops and reserving the right of way for a future LRT (light rail transit) or BRT (bus rapid transit) line, however MTS neglected to include any rapid transit for these projects in their master plan, and so we asked that the City, MTS and the developer ensure that quality transit support is available for the residents of this project.

For more information about this project, see https://www.miramesatowncouncil.org/carroll-canyon-master-plan/.

The 3Roots figure is from a presentation at the November 2018 Mira Mesa Community Planning Group meeting.