Kathy Garcia, Planning and Community Development Director
In July, the Del Mar City Council took another step forward in the Village Revitalization process directing staff to prepare a Specific Plan for the Village Center. The Specific Plan process is seen as the most appropriate tool to advance the goals of the Community Plan, and Del Mar is familiar with the Specific Plan process. Since the passage of Measure B, applicants have prepared and voters have approved three Specific Plans: the Plaza, the Del Mar Hotel (L’Auberge) and most recently, the Garden Del Mar.
Specific Plans are prepared for the systematic implementation of the General Plan goals and become the special set of development standards that apply to a particular geographical area, in this case Del Mar Village between 9th and 15th along Camino del Mar. Their preparation is regulated by Government Code §65450 and they are akin to a zoning ordinance. When the Del Mar Community Plan was adopted in 1976, and amended in 1985, the creation and adoption of a Specific Plan was suggested for the Village Center. At that time, as it is now, the Village Center was recognized as an area of Del Mar that demands specific planning attention that cannot otherwise be provided through conventional zoning.
The Village Center Specific Plan will be somewhat different from the other Specific Plans in Del Mar. In this case, the City is leading the effort by planning for a six-block “parcel” in advance of property owners or developers proposing their designs. This way, much of the public realm, or streetscape along Camino del Mar, will be addressed to the same degree as the private property. This will determine the layout of on-street parking, planted areas and streetscape amenities. On the private property, building “envelopes” will be determined to set the maximum footprint, mass and height. Allowed uses will be defined and located to reinforce pedestrian activities along the sidewalk. Because the final building designs won’t be developed until there is a development application, it is anticipated that Del Mar’s Design Review will still be responsible for protecting existing residential views and assessing the mass and scale to protect the community character, as envisioned by the Community Plan.
Both the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board have provided feedback on the Specific Plan. With Council’s direction, city staff has been busy developing alternatives based upon the spring Community Conversations. These options will come back for additional community input during the fall, when we plan to initiate the environmental review process.
The City’s website has been updated with information on the Village Center and the Specific Plan. Click on “Village Revitalization” on the home page or visit: www.delmar.ca.us/Government/Pages/VillageRevitalization.aspx. We welcome your comments and can place you on our email list, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.