Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee (MRNPC)

MedImpact Receives Approval from Scripps Ranch and City

At the November 2001 meeting of the Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee (MRNPC), the MedImpact project was supported with a unanimous vote. A City hearing officer approved MedImpact’s project in December 2001. The MRNPC wishes to thank both Councilmember Brian Maienschein for all his support during the project design review process, and also MedImpact for addressing the concerns of the committee and meeting the requirements of our community plan.

To provide a bit of history, this is the final project of the four Scripps Gateway projects: the 32.8-acre industrial parcel located at the southeast corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and the I-15 north freeway off-ramp. MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., purchased the land from Shea Properties. The company is approximately 11 years old and currently employs 450-500 employees.

MedImpact plans to construct just over 654,000 sq. ft. of office space, to include five corporate office buildings (two 6-story buildings, two 5-story buildings, and one 3-story building) and two ancillary use buildings for employee training, cafeteria, recreation, and daycare center. MedImpact has stated they plan to construct the whole project over the course of two years, and they will occupy the two buildings fronting Scripps Poway Parkway at the outset.

MedImpact’s desire is to one day occupy the whole site, which would accommodate over 2,500 employees. In the interim, MedImpact plans to lease the space in the other buildings. Because they are applying for “corporate campus status,” they must lease a minimum of 40,000 square feet per tenant to be able to meet the traffic standards applied to the site.

At the September 2001 meeting of the MRNPC, a unanimous vote was taken to recommend that the City of San Diego deny the MedImpact project as presented. The recommendation reflected considerable concern expressed by MRNPC members that the project was not in conformance with the community plan. The project was considered incompatible with the adjacent, approved but not yet constructed, commercial development; the bulk and scale of the buildings were felt to be excessive; and the building materials did not conform to the guidelines stated in our community plan. Further, members believed the project did not reflect the community character of Scripps Ranch.

With the support and assistance of our City Council office, the lines of communication were kept open between MedImpact representatives and the MRNPC. MedImpact was incredibly responsive to the committee’s concerns and redesigned their structures to address the issues that led to the earlier project denial. MRNPC members are pleased with the redesigned project and recognize the importance of providing quality places of employment in our community for the residents.

Thanks again to Councilmember Brian Maienschein, MedImpact, and the members of the MRNPC for cooperatively working together to achieve a mutually acceptable design and high-quality development.

KB Homes Project Approved

By the time this article appears in the Newsletter, the Kaufman and Broad (KB) Highlands II project will most likely have been approved by the City Planning Commission. The hearing date is Thursday, Feb. 21, and both the City Planning Department and the MRNPC have given the project their support. The Highlands II development is located just east and upslope of the Affinity area.

When the KB Highlands II development originally came before the MRNPC, neither committee members nor the City Planning Department could support the project’s initial design. The development consisted of “snout houses,” that is, homes with a garage-forward design with most units not designed with a street-level window on the first floor. Several of the driveways were going to be too short to accommodate a full-sized vehicle and such a vehicle would block the sidewalk creating a potential hazard for pedestrians.

The Miramar Ranch North (MRN) community plan stipulates that the design of residential communities shall incorporate the principals of “eyes on the street,” which encourages mutual aid among neighbors in protecting their homes, and enables parents to watch their children playing in the front of their homes.

Councilmember Brian Maienschein again supported the MRNPC in their efforts to encourage KB Homes to bring their project into compliance with the MRN community plan. His support of the MRNPC efforts was key to negotiating a compromise with the builder.

To their credit, KB Homes responded by redesigning the project to include a mix of three different home styles, each with several elevations. The redesigned project includes homes with some garages recessed from the façade of the home, some garages at the same plane as the home’s façade, and some with the garage somewhat forward.

The redesign also resulted in larger backyards for most of the homes, by reducing the side yards of some units within the guidelines already established by the City for this project. Most of the homes now have a front window at street level, and the others will have the option of putting a window in the front door.

The MRNPC unanimously approved the redesigned project at their December 2001 meeting. We wish to thank both Councilmember Maienschein and his office for their support of our community plan and efforts to improve the project, and we thank KB Homes for their response to the MRNPC’s comments and willingness to redesign to create a more functional streetscape.