Dave Druker | 10th Street
Recently, the Del Mar City Council discussed the purchase of some trailers to be abandoned by the Del Mar Union School District as they move to new offices in the Del Mar Heights/Carmel Valley area. The council decided not to make the purchase but this highlights a missed opportunity as the Council pursues grander plans.
For the past 2 ½ years the city council has pursued a plan to provide a framework and now a specific plan for the redevelopment of the downtown area between 15th and 9th Streets. While these plans are interesting, there ultimately is no means to ensure that that any plan will be implemented because:
• The city does not have control of the property.
• The owners of the property may have no incentive to redevelop.
• There is no economic plan to ensure that the development will be successful.
Meanwhile, there are no specific plans for the two properties that the City has control over – the City Hall site and the Shores Property. The City Hall property in many ways is key to the development of the down town area as it can provide “an anchor” for the south end of town. The anchor concept has been floated many times in prior vision documents. Most likely the plan for the City Hall property would need to go to a vote and if the Garden Del Mar project is used as a framework for planning – the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor. Also as a Downtown Specific Plan is created, the City Hall site should be a key to the development of the rest of downtown.
The Shores property in turn is another key to the south end of town. The council needs to work the residents to determine the future of the property and how to implement the vision of open space that was used as a motivation for fundraising along with the final portion being paid for by the city through the sale of the Balboa property.
Once these plans, including new parking, are set the city can implement them, rather than waiting for another property owner to step up and make the changes identified by the Downtown Specific Plan.