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Housing project in San Diego's Carmel Mountain Ranch gets final approval

City Council to vote Tuesday on Trails at CMR
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Posted at 6:11 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 22:51:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The San Diego City Council Tuesday issued final approval for the Trails at Carmel Mountain Ranch.

Developer New Urban West designed "The Trails at Carmel Mountain Ranch." It's a 1,200-unit project to be built on land left vacant since the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club closed its golf course in 2018.

The project passed 8-1 later Tuesday night.

In a statement to ABC 10News, Project Manager Jonathan Frankel said, "we are grateful to the City Council for their strong support and recognizing that this project will thoughtfully deliver much-needed housing for young families and working professionals in a high resource, jobs-rich community. We’re looking forward to breaking ground and making these homes available for San Diegans as soon as possible."

In addition to 1,200 units, the project calls for 110 acres of open space, accounting for nearly 70% of the old golf course land. That will include 5 miles of biking and walking trails and 8 acres of new public parks.

The City Planning Commission approved the project unanimously in August.

But the development hasn't come without opposition. The Carmel Mountain Ranch United group and the Carmel Mountain Ranch Sabre Springs Community Council both argued against the proposal, saying it was too big for the area.

New Urban West held 30 community meetings and surveyed more than 500 residents about the plans. The company agreed to reduce the number of units from an initial proposal of 1,600 and add more open space. They also say 15% of the units will be deed-restricted for low-income San Diegans.

Residents say that's not enough of a compromise.

"What I feel has been done is they've talked to us, they've told us what they're doing, there hasn't been a lot of give and take," says Eric Edelman, the Chairman of the CMRSSCC.

Edelman says he understands the area needs more housing and that the project will likely get full approval from the City Council. But he hopes the developer will at least look into greater compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act on the trails and parks. He also wants to ensure there is a buffer between new and existing homes.

"I'm proud of the community for their work on this project," Edelman says. "Improving this property is going to be a good thing for Carmel Mountain Ranch."

Economic development leaders in North County say adding housing along the I-15 corridor is crucial to the City's future growth. They say this is the best option for the old golf course.

"In a dense, fairly urbanized area like Carmel Mountain Ranch, this is a smart land use," says Erik Bruvold, the San Diego North Economic Development Council CEO. "Having housing closer to employment sites is just smart planning and smart growth."