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DMVA Unveils New Study, New Signs
March 2008 | Wayne Dernetz



February was a busy month for the Del Mar Village Association and its Executive Director, Jen Grove. The big news came early in the month with the unveiling of the long-awaited Revitalization Plan for Del Mar Village by Kennedy Smith, principal of the Arlington, Virginia consulting firm, Community Land Use and Economics Group (CLUE).

More than 10 months in preparation, the Village Revitalization Plan is a marketing study aimed at identifying ways to improve the business climate for Del Mar's retail businesses. The Plan touts Del Mar's many virtues - its beautiful beaches, legendary racetrack, scenic vistas, small-town character, quaint village and relaxed attitude. It also identifies challenges that face other older, traditional town centers, among them parking, pedestrian access and traffic circulation. But among the problems unique to Del Mar, described as "inadvertent byproducts of goals that are central to the [downtown] district's character," are the intermingling of offices with retail uses, the current inflexible height restrictions along Camino del Mar, high regulatory and financial burdens on new development, and the City's reliance on private funding for implementing Del Mar Streetscape.

The plan's recommendations include promoting retail concentrations that serve both community residents and visitors, and encouraging convenience-oriented retail businesses (groceries, hardware, books and magazine shops). Longer-term recommendations include making permanent the City's "horizontal zoning" ordinance, developing a "form-based" code to guide design and development decisions, initiating a land-pooling program to encourage private owners to cooperate with one another for new development, and expediting completion of the City's Streetscape Plan with public funding.

The 105-page Revitalization Plan for Del Mar Village, along with an accompanying 42-page survey of opinions and comments on the Del Mar Village, can be found at the DMVA website, http://www.delmarmainstreet.com .

DMVA also revealed plans for installing two new Del Mar entrance signs at the northern and southern ends of Camino del Mar. Both entry signs will consist of two stacked slabs of Elk Mountain Stone from Wyoming, each eight feet in length by three feet in width, handpicked for their complementary appearance to the natural sandstone of the area. The new Del Mar logo, consisting of a stylized Torrey Pine branch with the words "Del Mar" engraved in metal will be attached to the stacked stones.

The project is a cooperative effort of the DMVA and the City of Del Mar. Laura Parker, Del Mar resident and local developer, volunteered to oversee the design project. Ms. Parker said it took two years to complete because of the challenging search for the perfect shape and size of the four slabs and the time needed to obtain design and bid approvals. DMVA announced this project is just one of several sign improvements it hopes to put in place.



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