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Passerelle project shot down by FCPG


Last updated 8/30/2007 at Noon

Although the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) denied the current design of the Passerelle development, the vote was 9-5 on August 20. Members of the planning group unanimously agreed on their dislike of the development’s current ideas for a project to be located north of SR-76 and east of I-15, but a handful of members, such as Eileen Delaney and Anne Burdick, slightly disagreed in how Harry Christiansen had authored his three-page denial.

Delaney believed the denial was too broad and the developer required more specific guidance. “None of us want a development out there, but it is going to happen. This is the opportunity to get our input in, say what we feel and try to make a difference on what actually goes in there,” shared Delaney. She did state the developers had more work to do, because the Highway Commercial and Residential projects needed to be scaled down and redesigned. She was not in opposition to having a large grocery store located in the Highway Commercial project.

This 417-acre future development has been hovering over the planning group for some time now, but this was the initial opportunity for an official design(s) to be presented. The planning group is now hunkered down regarding the plans recently given to them by Passerelle.

“Now, for the very first time, we are seeing the globs that were previously said to be multi-family; for the very first time we are seeing the definition of a shopping area that is called the Towne Center; for the very first time we are seeing the definition of the Highway Commercial area on 76; for the very first time we are seeing an office professional complex; for the very first time we are seeing everything,” said Christiansen.

Likewise, Passerelle has also proposed to construct 529 single-family dwelling units and 467 multi-family dwelling units.

The planning group’s principal denial items were based on the shopping centers, sports park complex, office professional building, building heights, multi-family residences, single-family residences, lack of parking for residents and guests and areas of violation in reference to the General Plan 2020 plan.

“The Passerelle project has just mushroomed in size to gigantic proportions – much greater than we anticipated from earlier discussions,” said Chuck Sanacore.

Chris Brown, spokesperson for Passerelle, LLC, mentioned they sold 85 acres to Palomar College. The Pardee, Pappas and Passerelle developments, all located in the same general area, will act independently, said Brown.

The Highway Commercial development located on SR-76 would entail places such as a large grocery store and restaurant(s). “We do not have a tenant in mind yet, but it can serve people in surrounding areas,” said Brown.

Sanacore shrugged off Brown’s diligent and charismatic project pitch. “The proposed retail and restaurant space is excessive for a neighborhood convenience; it is more likely that it would attract people from other communities and add to traffic congestion here in Fallbrook,” he said. “There is also a lack of rural charm that we consider one of Fallbrook’s primary assets.”

According to Brown, the Highway Commercial proposal was meant to serve the surrounding areas and not ever meant to affect downtown Fallbrook.

In addition, the idea behind Towne Center, said Brown, was to have a place residents could walk to for services. These retail outlets would include places such as a boutique, a sandwich shop and a dry cleaning destination. “The Towne Center is not designed for huge things,” confirmed Brown.

While planning group members discussed the specifics about the Passerelle project, another member, Jim Oenning, voiced his concerns about the precarious position future residents would be facing due to the nearby quarry. Oenning cited his heartfelt concerns regarding the traveling distance of silica from the Rosemary’s Mountain quarry to the residential developments of Pardee, Passerelle and Pappas.

Silica, a compound of silicon dioxide, would be present when Granite Construction Company mines aggregate, the leading component of concrete and asphalt. On a 10-mph breeze, silica can travel 10 miles, said Oenning. “If you breathe it at that level, you can expect to get some level of silicosis.”

Oenning’s son died from silicosis. There is an impact on health issues that Oenning finds highly worrisome and his concerns have been justified by researching reports, including a University of California, Davis study (Air Resources Board Contract 98-348). Silica particulate not only affects humans but harms agriculture, said Oenning.

Currently, Oenning is working alongside an attorney who is representing real estate agents in North County. Their intention is to rewrite the disclosure for Rosemary’s Mountain. This rewrite will warn potential buyers of the serious health hazards and recommend that buyers must research the ill effects of silica.

In the meantime, Oenning asserted when developers pursue an Environmental Impact Report, extensive research regarding the dangers of silica must be addressed. “We must demand that,” said Oenning. His statement was followed by a loud applause.


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