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  Talk Before You Walk
Adam Birnbaum | Del Mar Principle Planner

 

On November 8th, the City Council passed an ordinance establishing what is known as a Citizens’ Participation Program, or CCP, as part of Del Mar’s design review process. The CPP ordinance and its requirements become effective on December 8, 2010.

The intent of a CPP is to make neighbors aware of a development proposal early in its design phase and also to give neighbors an opportunity to meet with the project applicant and discuss concerns before the Design Review Board holds its formal public hearing on the application.

The impetus for establishing a CPP was the DRB’s concern that, although applicants and their representatives do often reach out to neighbors to have a dialogue about new development proposals, there is no formal requirement to do so. In cases where applicants have not made those efforts, there been a resulting pressure on the Design Review Board to try and resolve potential aesthetic and neighborhood impacts. That often leads to a lengthier and more acrimonious review process. The new Citizens’ Participation Program may not solve all neighborhood concerns about new developments, but it will ensure that efforts are made to inform and involve citizens in the design review process.

Approved by the City Council, an applicant implementing a CPP must:

  1. Send a notice to owners and residents of nearby properties informing them of a proposed development. The notice is to be accompanied by a project description and an early draft of the plans; -
  2. Send invitations to those same nearby property owners and residents to meet and discuss the proposal;
  3. Send follow-up information to those who participated in neighborhood meetings advising them of any plan revisions; and
  4. Prepare a record for the Design Review Board of the CPP describing the how the CPP notice and meeting invitations were sent, along with a list of the comments and ideas raised at the CPP meeting(s). The record must also indicate how the project was modified as a result of the community input, or if not, why not.

A CPP is required for: 1) any new [detached] structure greater than 500 sq. ft. in size; and 2) any second story addition to an existing structure. A CPP may also be required in cases where the Planning Director, working in consultation with the DRB Chair, determines that a project holds the potential for adverse impacts to the surrounding area.

The Council adopted the CPP for a two-year trial period. At the end of the trial period, the Council could allow the Citizens’ Participation Program to expire or could opt to retain it, potentially with some modifications.


 
 

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