If you lived in an area being eyed for a major new development, a $10 million investment in your kids’ schools could soften the blow of increased traffic and congestion the project would bring.
Then again, if you lived within a short jog of the new development, and that $10 million was going to the school district next door — not yours — that might solidify your opposition.
One Paseo, and its developer, Kilroy Realty Inc., are in an unusual situation. The 23-acre project site is near the boundary between two elementary school districts, Del Mar Union School District and the Solana Beach School District. It’s also in the San Dieguito Union High School District.
If the City Council approves the project, which requires an amendment to Carmel Valley’s existing community plan written in 1975, Kilroy will pay roughly $10 million total to the Solana Beach and San Dieguito school districts, where kids from the 600 new housing units will attend.
The boundary means Del Mar Union won’t receive any compensation (though Del Mar Union students will eventually benefit from the funding flowing to their high schools).
Nothing about One Paseo’s school funding plan is illegal. Developer fees to school districts, as defined in a 1998 state law, are restricted to spending on school facilities in order to mitigate the effect of additional students, so that they don’t represent an offer to coax favor from locals.
But the project would presumably be more palatable to more residents if it wasn’t on the boundary of two local school jurisdictions, thereby depriving some nearby residents of a schools cash infusion that might make them more sympathetic to the development.
Robert Little, vice president of development with Kilroy, said the developer fee scheduled to be paid to the school districts comes from an equation of roughly $17,000 per unit. The $10 million will be split between the districts based on a model that projects the expected breakdown of kids by age, based on the types of units included in the project.
“Would things be different if it was one district? I don’t know. There isn’t one district,” he said. “And there’s a lot of support for the project in that area already. We have spoken to both Solana Beach and San Dieguito. I haven’t spoken to anyone at Del Mar, nor have they contacted us.”
If the project is approved, Kilroy would also pay what’s expected to be another $5 million or so for the construction of facilities and infrastructure in the area, once again to offset the project’s effects. The ultimate fee will be re-assessed after an evaluation of public facilities and infrastructure needs.
That estimated fee was reduced from $10 million when Kilroy recently reined in the size of the project, from roughly 2 million square feet to 1.4 million square feet. Since the total housing units wasn’t changed, the school district fee didn’t change.
The Carmel Valley Planning Board was set to decide whether to recommend the project at its February meeting, but delayed the vote following a heated discussion at the January meeting. It has not been rescheduled. The City Council could decide One Paseo’s fate by late summer.
I’m Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0529 and follow me on Twitter:
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