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Civic Center Concept
A letter from a group of about 30 citizens sent to City Council

We are a group of involved citizens who have been meeting to discuss plans for a new city hall center. We have reached a consensus in support of a new city hall on the present site. Although we all agree on the general concepts in this memo, individuals in the group may have varying views on some of the specific elements of the plan as it develops. Below are some recommendations on principles and parameters for developing the City Hall, which we ask you to take into consideration.

City Hall components - Administrative offices for staff functions, meeting rooms to be shared by staff, non-profit organizations and public. Council Chambers must be equipped with technology to conduct televised broadcasts of City meetings and have excellent acoustics. Chambers should have flexible space to accommodate community attendance at City meetings and alternative public uses when not in session. City Hall should be a community friendly space. Outdoor plaza space should be large enough to accommodate farmer’s market and public gatherings.

Architecture / Scale - City Hall should be designed in an enduring style, to a small and nice scale. The group wants to carefully manage costs by building a quality facility that serves the purpose without being excessive in scale or design. The project should conform with all zoning requirements including FAR, setbacks, etc.
Parking - It was agreed that parking must be sufficient to accommodate all proposed uses of the new City Hall with no impact on neighboring streets.

Emergency Operation Center - The open space must be sufficient to accommodate the needs of Del Mar’s Emergency Operation Center.

Voter approval of City Hall Plans - The group agreed that the community should vote on the proposed plans. We assume that the City will either develop a Specific Plan or a plan to re-zone certain parts of the property to allow for commercial or residential uses. In either case, plans must be developed for a complete City Hall concept, so the voters would have a clear picture of the plan for the property including public facilities, open space, commercial and residential components. A timetable for voting should be set as soon as possible and voting by postcard or online should be considered.

Community Input - The group feels that a public workshop scheduled in June is too late in the process. It is recommended that an additional public workshop be added earlier in the process at a time when additional facts, designs or cost data become available for public consideration. Additionally the City should create a web site for online input and feedback throughout the process. The Council should consider an advisory committee made up of residents.

Funding Alternatives - The City Council must advise the community about the financial options and constraints and then give the community a chance to weigh-in on the options. It is important that we understand what the City can afford to spend on City Hall without assessing new taxes. The group also recognizes that the inclusion of residential and / or commercial components would generate significant cash for the City, which could be used to fund the public facilities. However it did not reach any consensus to encourage these uses.

Neighborhood Impact - The City should carefully plan the complex to limit adverse impact on the neighbors. Ingress and egress to parking will be important. Limitations on late night usage of parking or the plaza should be imposed.
Development - Transition plans are needed to move from existing facilities to temporary space to the new premises. It was suggested that transition plans developed in the past might be of use.

Timetable for City Council decision by June 16, 2014 - The current City schedule seems to be too short given the significant information requirements, public discussion, workshops and planning required to complete the process.

Dave Druker, 10th Street
Bud Emerson, Klish Way
Tom McGreal, Stratford Court


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