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Voters say “Si, Si”
December 2008 | Mark Whitehead, former Mayor of Del Mar


Change comes slowly in Del Mar, but usually for the better because of intensive review of proposals and the involvement of dedicated citizens. Such was the case for Measure G, the extensively vetted mixed-use project proposed for the old gas station site on Camino Del Mar Del Mar at 10th street which was overwhelmingly approved on Nov. 4.

Measure G

Voting 2164 to 394, Del Mar voters gave the go-ahead for the cluster of two-story buildings that will house office condominiums, a cafe and restaurant, street level retail space, a public plaza and upper level viewing deck. Voter approval was required because of the large size of the development, a requirement based on the approval process formalized for the public approval of the Del Mar Plaza, a controversial development project that was narrowly approved in the 1980s.
Measure G enjoyed support of the city council and the many citizens serving on committees that reviewed the project at all stages. Because the size of the buildings exceeds zoning standards, exceptional public benefits will be provided by the developer. These include underground parking for 100 cars, more than required for the site, green construction methods, and upscale quality of construction. An overarching benefit for the city is that the project will provide a southern anchor to the village retail core, thus promoting an attractive destination for pedestrians who are expected to be drawn along Camino Del Mar from the Plaza at the north 5 blocks to this counterpoint at the south. 

more>>  Our November article about the garden project.

Measure H

Also approved by voters 1590-958 was Measure H. This provides the city council the option to raise the transient occupancy tax (TOT) from 10.5 to 13%. This tax is paid by visitors to our hotels; the revenue flows into the general fund and can be used by the city for any purpose. TOT is one of the top three sources of city revenue. If exercised, and with historical rates of hotel occupancy, estimates are that the increase would generate an additional $400,000 per year for the general fund.
Finally, the voters elected all 3 individuals on the ballot to 3 available seats on the city council. Receiving the most votes, 1504, was Donald Mosier a Design Review Board member who will be new to the council. Carl Hilliard who will return for a second term received 1461 votes. Mark Filanc, who will join the council after serving on the Planning Commission received 1421 votes. Retiring from the council, both after serving 3 terms, are David Druker and Henry Abarbanel.

The City Council

This was an unusual election for Del Mar. It was the first in 20 years with a large development project on the ballot. It was the first ever with the same number of candidates for city council as seats, ensuring a predictable outcome. And, aside from a ballot argument against Measure H that was ultimately nullified by its authors, it was the first election in recent years devoid of political conflict.

Proposed Garden Del Mar Project at the corner of 10th Street and Camino Del Mar.  Enlargement.



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