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Smart Growth Award nominee

LEED Gold-rated Quarry Falls to provide walkable, eco-friendly neighborhood

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Planning and environmental review for the Quarry Falls community was approved by the city of San Diego in the fall 2008. Quarry Falls will transform a 70-year-old sand and gravel quarry into a sustainable community with nearly 5,000 homes (including senior housing and 500 affordable units), 900,000 square feet of office and retail uses, potential for a K-8 or K-12 public charter school, access to San Diego's Light Rail System and abundant acres of park space -- all within a 15 minute walk of each other.

Expected to begin construction in late 2010, Quarry Falls will provide an estimated $1.5 billion in private investment to the Mission Valley area of San Diego. By creating a sustainable community with smart-growth principles and eco-friendly design attributes, Quarry Falls will become a model for the future growth of the region.

The Quarry Falls plan has achieved a Gold rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Pilot program. The LEED-ND rating system was designed by the U.S. Green Building Council, Congress for the New Urbanism and Natural Resources Defense Council to encourage and facilitate the construction of sustainable development. Currently, Quarry Falls is one of the largest LEED-ND plans in the country.

The Quarry Falls plan is based on San Diego's "City of Villages" strategy, which was used as the framework for the city's recently adopted General Plan. This community framework facilitates a reduced dependency on cars and, ultimately, greenhouse gas emissions. San Diego is the first county in the state required to implement SB-375. In addition, Quarry Falls' central location in Mission Valley allows for effective use of the valley's existing infrastructure. Quarry Falls should not just be a model for local planning, but also a model for incorporating these innovative policies into project development throughout the state.

The site has been identified as an "Urban Village" in SANDAG's smart growth concept plans that are the basis for the region's regional transit plan (RTP). Quarry Falls will feature a shuttle system, a hybrid-car sharing program and is within close proximity to the trolley stop -- with the ultimate goal of providing residents everything they need to live, work and play without having to drive. In addition, Quarry Falls' sustainable design features potentially will include an on-site reclaimed water treatment plant, solar orientation and energy management systems, drought tolerant and native landscaping, a community garden, high-efficiency irrigation systems, natural filtration of storm water, construction waste recycling, and the use of sustainable and recyclable building materials.

Residential buildings will be efficiently designed to reduce the use of power-driven heating and cooling systems as well as water use. The systems will be designed to meet both Energy Star and WaterSense. Windows will be oriented so indoor spaces can be naturally ventilated. Trees, large shrubs and climbing vines will be strategically placed near buildings to reduce heating needs in the summer and increase solar heat gain in the winter. A bioswale will be constructed to naturally filter water run-off from the development and help create a relationship with the San Diego River. Furthermore, the bioswale will be actively integrated with the surrounding park-space to allow it to be a useable area able to be enjoyed by the public.

More than one-third of Quarry Falls will be devoted to open space and public areas, creating a community that promotes walkability, social-connectedness and healthy living. Organized around a network of parks and open space, residents, retail, office and civic spaces will be linked by pedestrian trails, walkable streets and bike paths.

Quarry Falls is an entirely privately funded development and is estimated to create more than 9,000 construction jobs and once completed, it will produce nearly 3,700 direct and indirect permanent jobs in the retail, education and public service sectors, among many others. The positive economic impact to the region is forecasted to be $900 million per year. At build-out, Quarry Falls will generate more than $50 million per year in property and sales taxes.

The population in San Diego County is forecasted to increase by approximately 1 million in the next 20 years. Quarry Falls fulfills a need in the county by providing residents with housing that is affordable by design where they can significantly reduce the amount of money spent on energy and transportation and live sustainably for years to come.

[CAPTION=A conceptual land-use plan of Smart Growth Award nominee The Quarry Falls located in Mission Valley.]

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