Richard Earnest | Mayor
There have been many points of view expressed around Form Based Code. Most of them are incomplete, confused or misleading. The term and concept are difficult to absorb so I think we should stop calling this effort “Form Based Code” and call it Village Revitalization. That is a very easy concept to understand. Put simply, the work being done by the city and the committee assigned to develop alternatives for the community to debate has to do with enhancing the experience in our community living room--that is, our downtown. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could spend a pleasant afternoon strolling Camino Del Mar, meeting our neighbors, having a coffee or an ice cream with our families and just enjoying the atmosphere? We can’t do that today because there are too many empty storefronts, non-contiguous sidewalks, and gaps between interesting things to experience. In order to encourage investment in our downtown, we must intensify the usage and give property owners a chance to make new investment work. Our current requirements make new investment highly unlikely. This does NOT mean that skyscrapers are going to be erected along Camino Del Mar or that looming buildings will block out available air and sunlight!!
If adopted by the voters, change will happen slowly in any case. Property owners will make their own decisions about revitalizing their properties and they certainly will not implement simultaneously! The gradual improvements will be outlined and reviewed by the community as they always have been albeit with a more streamlined and efficient process, giving more certainty to property owners prior to making significant financial commitments to improve their buildings.
Oh, by the way, for those of you concerned that “process” is not being followed, 14 televised public meetings have been held over the last year or so and seven city council meetings have been conducted. In addition, we plan to come into the community and hold a number of small conversations to get additional feedback on the ideas generated so far. This is all prior to holding larger community workshops and giving people the chance to view the work done so far and make important and critical comments about how our “living room” should look in the future. This “process” was actually created many years ago in Del Mar and continues to be wisely followed.
A final note, for those of you that would like to see nothing change, you are pursuing a formula for failure ... the failure of Del Mar to continue to be an independent city controlling its own destiny. None of us want that and the diligent work being pursued to revitalize the downtown is intended to prevent such an outcome.