Main Street Madness
Ann Gardner | Via Latina
There is a big difference between a Carmel Valley community plan and a Del Mar community plan. In the former, developers can work the bureaucracy and distant elected officials to decimate an agreed upon community vision. In Del Mar a vision change must go to the voters for approval.
Anxious to hold onto its Community Plan’s vision and values, the spokesperson for a Carmel Valley group came to Del Mar’s January 9 City Council meeting seeking help to ward off a massive development at one of Carmel Valley’s major neighborhood corners: Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real. In the wake of longtime Carmel Valley resident Robert Fuchs’ presentation, the developer’s spokesperson, former Director of San Diego’s Development Services, Marcella Escobar-Eck, appeared bringing along (recruited?) supporters mostly from east of I-5 to praise the proposed development even though it exceeds the zoning for that corner by almost 400%, not counting parking structures for over 4,000 cars. The Carmel Valley group, What Price Main Street? has its work cut out for it.
So why should we care? As Councilmember Filanc commented, because we need to deal with “creeping entitlement.” It is only a hop, skip and jump west over I-5 at Del Mar Heights Rd. to the Del Mar Heights convenient, easily accessible, neighborhood shopping center. Located in San Diego City limits the neighborhood center with its resident oriented grocery store, cleaners, bakery, pharmacy, etc. could easily be the next step for “over development.” Imagine a 10-story hotel, two eight-story office buildings, a large parking structure in this location and you can also imagine the bottleneck at not only the Del Mar Heights exits off I-5 (north and south) but at Del Mar Heights Rd. and Mango Drive – the major intersection of the Heights residential areas. The impacts to Del Mar residents and our plans for a more pedestrian downtown are obvious. More traffic diverted to Camino del Mar because of the I-5 jam-up and possibly more traffic leaving Del Mar to shop at a “bigger, better” location.
Take time to listen to the January 9 City Council meeting, Item 6, by going to the city website Delmar.ca.us/video archive. Get the full picture and then check out the website What Price Main Street? If you want to get involved, either in our community by contacting Del Mar council members or with our Carmel Valley neighbors, now is a good time.