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The Shape of Things to Come?

Anthony Corso | Stratford


Courtesy Howard Gad

Howard Gad is the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Form Based Code Advisory Committee (FBCC). As previously reported, the objective of the Committee, as determined by the City Council, is to promote the cooperative revitalization of Del Mar’s commercial districts. Once the work of the FBCC is complete and approved by the City Council, it will be up to each individual property owner whether they want to upgrade or remodel their property under the conditions and incentives of the implemented Form-Based Code.

The Committee is currently involved in a comprehensive inventory of existing commercial development, as prelude to recommending alterations of one kind or another.

Planning staff members are conducting a detailed, parcel by parcel study, recording existing developmental characteristics, and affording photographs and panoramic views of the entire block. Information is also being recorded regarding the history and type of the construction, design and architectural characteristics, lot coverage and vacant spaces, the availability of parking as well as the functions and activities being accommodated.

In September the Committee will actively explore revitalization opportunities and alternatives -- including structural improvements to existing buildings, modifications in frontages and streetscape, expansion of existing uses, and the potential accommodation of new residential, office or retail uses. This resourceful period of “generating possibilities” will enlist the services of graduate architectural students from the New School of Architecture. Their role will be to conceptualize alternatives by generating design and architectural renderings.

Simultaneously, a series of public workshops will be held to review alternatives and solicit further opinions and recommendations from Del Mar citizens.
Gad notes that it is yet to be determined where the Design Review Board could most advantageously be involved both in these early stages and later when a property owner wishes to develop his or her property. The hope is that the DRB and the FBCC can jointly endorse a set of policies, procedures and standards as guides to renewal and development.

Gad feels that the Committee has been established by the City Council to implement concepts and ideas that have been presented in various planning studies and public workshops over the last 25 years. The goal is to establish a comprehensive revitalization program though the form- based code process to encourage existing commercial property owners to redevelop their property for the betterment of the City. To motivate owners of specific earmarked properties, incentives will be created and a clear concise method will be established so that there will be some certainty to the approval process.


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