Kathy Garcia | City of Del Mar, Planning and Community Development Director
Community Conversations. Photo Art Olson.
|Number of participants favoriing new
land uses downtown
We hope we heard from you during last month’s Community Conversations with your preference on the Del Mar Village alternatives. The Sandpiper was instrumental in “getting out the vote” by encouraging readers to participate and we are grateful for all who took the time to attend the workshop, visit the open house or fill in the online survey.* It is important that our decision makers have an understanding of the community’s preferences, and you may find it interesting to know your fellow community members’ thoughts.
So what were the results? There was continued community support for the Village Goals as stated in previous planning documents and the Measures of Success categories. We received good suggestions for additional goals and suggested measures to make them Smart Goals. Underground parking structures, parks, residential units and boutique hotels received the strongest support as new land uses that people wanted to see in the Village.
In the public realm, there was a preference to reconfigure Camino del Mar to two lanes with roundabouts instead of its current four lane configuration. This was a recommendation in our 1976 Community Plan and still holds true today. Likewise, wider sidewalks (10 feet or greater) and sidewalk cafes were preferred to improve the pedestrian experience. There was confusion on the question as to whether or not to use FAR to determine bulk and mass and the results were not conclusive. The City plans to do additional discussions on the issue. However, there was preference to raise the height limit on the west side of Camino del Mar to 26 feet – matching the allowed height on the east side of the street. There was also acceptance of roof articulation, architectural features, second level step-backs and setbacks to promote outside dining and activity areas.
Parking is a critical issue to Del Mar and the mixed results were very indicative of the various opinions. Many expressed the need for adequate parking for commercial viability and local convenience. Others recognized the limited amount of space in our village and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. And there was a strong voice to protect the residential quality of life in the adjacent neighborhoods; how best to do it is still in question. There was a slight preference for the use of a residential permit program, a stronger preference for adding additional diagonal stalls and providing incentives for developers who provide public parking. Both parking signage and employee parking programs were seen as desirable. However, there was a dislike of parking meters. Lowering the parking ratio to determine on-site parking had some support, but the majority only found it “acceptable.”
How high does the community want to go?
And how do we move forward? City Council has directed staff to prepare a project description utilizing the two lane Camino del Mar scenario and a development capacity that allows up to 26 feet on both sides of the Village corridor. The purpose of this is to assess the maximum conditions for our subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The EIR will disclose and assess impacts and identify mitigations. Parking will be a continuous item for discussion and a parking study is initiating shortly. The draft Project Description will go to City Council on December 5 to be followed shortly by the EIR’s Notice of Preparation.
How many lanes for Camino Del Mar?
For those of you who did not have a chance to participate, we’re always welcoming your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. And visit the City of Del Mar’s webpage at www.delmar.ca.us (click on the Village Revitalization link) to see the full results of this round of outreach. We hope to have your participation again as the plan develops.
* Editor’s note: Of the 167 people who completed the survey, 78% were Del Mar residents, 15% business owners, 2% commercial property owners and 7% employees of Del Mar businesses. To read complete report go to www.delmar.ca.us > Meeting Agendas: City Council > Meeting Date: 11/14/11 > agenda item 7.
Community Conversations. Photo Art Olson