October 2012 home page

Featuring del Mar
Sam Borgese | 10th Street


On the bluffs.  Photo Alain Virnot


The defining features of Del Mar: an unrivaled beach with a view across the Pacific ocean to a horizon of unparalleled displays of dusk, the starlit sky at night and the ebb and flow of surf; wizened sandstone bluffs and canyons abounding with miniature ecosystems; trees, shrubs, wild and cultivated flora of every kind, and minute worlds of ground cover blanketing the ground; a race track, fairgrounds, railroad and bridges hugging two lagoons, and the village street patterns: its commercial grid and winding residential roads stamped on by Taylor, Kirkhoff and the original developers of the area-with echoes of its architecture mixed today with that of the various generations in its more than 125 year history.

Del Mar is a unique ecological and human-built gem. Its preservation and enhancement has been worth all of the energy that the people who live here have poured into it. This is said in full recognition that market forces as well as public policy and natural forces have shaped a skewed ethnic, social, economic and residential profile – as one finds in communities of all kinds.

Our 1976 Community Plan vision has mostly kept the developmental trajectory of the town pointing in its intended resident-scaled direction despite the explosion of development launched in the mid-eighties: North City West, 16-lane highway expansion, commuter rail access and increased fair grounds usage.

Through Measure B, the community approved the Del Mar Plaza and L’Auberge Hotel projects that established the central features around which the downtown village character is set. And steps continue to be taken to fulfill the vision of the 1976 plan: lot line adjustments, median landscaping, traffic control, the Powerhouse Community Center, acquisition of the Ninth Street school property and the Torrey Pines Bridge, San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration, passage of Garden Del Mar and other actions, many of which spring from ideas developed in 1981 for the Del Mar 2000 project.

In the end the “Del Mar Way” of organic growth through vigorous commitment to the Community Plan, open community conversations and creative discourse has served us, its residents, very well in preserving all of the rare and unique aspects of our village environment.

Note: Much of the descriptive material in this article has been adapted with permission from Gene Schwartz, a former Del Mar resident.



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