|The Perigee Moon on Cinco de Mayo, taken through the Torrey Pines of east Crest Canyon. Photo Paul Haydu
Del Mar’s quality of life is at a tipping point. Our tiny oasis of green is surrounded by an amazing array of urbanizing forces. We have done a remarkable job over several decades of preserving a “green” perimeter around our small town, but we don’t live in a vacuum. We are directly impacted by many external decisions that are beyond our control, but not entirely beyond our influence.
We can congratulate ourselves that our green and open space priorities have created a town that is encircled on the north and south by two carefully protected lagoon estuaries, on the east by Crest Canyon once targeted for high rise condos, and on the west by a delightful open public beach welcoming the blue Pacific. We have added to our open space wealth with Anderson Canyon, Seagrove Park, Shores Park, and several pocket parks. We probably have more green open space per cap than almost any other community in the state, except mountain and desert towns.
However, all of this good work does not insulate us from the cumulative effects of urbanization projects around us. The list is getting longer every month. Consider just a few:
- Flower Hill shopping center with a giant traffic-inducing Whole Foods grocery
- Kilroy’s gargantuan development on Del Mar Heights Road proposing buildings four times the allowed zoning and promising “unmitigable” traffic gridlock
- New development in Ralph’s shopping center already creating parking and traffic issues and zoned for even more in the future
- The new Regional Transportation Plan that calls for more freeway lanes at the expense of public transit
- The possibility of a fly-over connector at the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and I-5
- Proposals to relocate or underground train tracks from the precarious bluff location
- Projected new density at Lomas Santa Fe shopping centers
- Persistent efforts to increase activity at the Fairgrounds that impacts our town
Undoubtedly, there is more on developer planning boards that we have yet to see. This tells us is that our “foreign policy” is critical to the protection of our small town way of life. Our current City Council continues a long tradition of working to influence other decision-making bodies in the region. Our voice needs to be strong and persuasive. We need to build alliances with neighboring jurisdictions that are similarly impacted. We encourage vigorous advocacy as a top Council priority. Our future is at stake.