|Watkins Site Plan. Courtesy Jim Watkins and Kit Leeger.
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|Conceptual Views. Courtesy Jim Watkins and Kit Leeger.
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As a Del Mar resident since 1968, I have worked with many other residents on our Del Mar Community Master Plan. Since then, several proposals for a new Civic Center have failed. I believe the existing City offices are an embarrassment and that our residents and City staff desire better. Our Master Plan states the role of the Community Center should be:
“The Community Center is to act as the house for City government and a community gathering place that invites and supports Community interaction — A plan organized around outdoor courtyards and plazas that are to serve as public gathering spaces.”
Previous proposals have not adhered to our Master Plan criteria, nor have they been affordable and have thus failed to gain Community support, including one presented at a December 2nd Comrnunity workshop.
Believing we need and desire a new Community Civic Center, my daughter, an architect and I decided as a combined effort to work with residents for input and design a proposed Community Center that would follow all of the Del Mar Master Plan guidelines and one that would be affordable. We began after the December 2nd workshop by asking dozens of interested long term residents what they wanted for our Community Center. The following plan is a result of their input and our Del Mar Master Plan criteria.
Basic features of the proposed plan include:
- To act as the house for City government and a gathering place that invites and supports Community interaction.
- A plan organized around outdoor courtyards and plazas to serve as public gathering open spaces and quiet courtyards
- A plan properly scaled for the needs of administrative offices and chambers, including multiple flexible meeting rooms for Community and nonprofit organization use.
- A Public Plaza large enough to accommodate the Del Mar Farmers’ Market and as a gathering place for special Community social and cultural events.
- A small neighborhood coffee shop, resident serving shops and a restaurant along Camino del Mar to serve as a much needed southern anchor for our Village. This will also enhance the Community’s goal for a more walkable Village, plus provide the City with added revenue.
- Public parking to meet all code requirements for the proposed uses. As a result of the center’s mixed uses, there would typically be significant surplus parking.
- High tech Council Chambers with TV recording facilities. The current guest seating of approximately 50 would be increased to 100 guests, capable of expanding further to 170 for overflow during major Council hearings or special events.
- Seven town homes set back some 25 feet from the street to provide a residential environment for the center and a transition into the existing residential neighborhood continuing down 10th and 11th Streets. In addition to the residential transition, those seven town homes are the single most important element to offset the cost of the City’s administrative offices, Council chambers and public plaza.
- A public/private agreement in which the City retains 100% ownership of the land with lease agreements for the commercial and residential components that will result in reducing the City’s cost for their facility and the public plaza to approximately one half or less.
Most of all an efficient, affordable, Village style, user friendly Community Center that is the pride of our Community and a special place for all residents to enjoy.
This is the essence of the plan that my daughter, Kit Leeger and I have proposed for the City Council and Community’s consideration as our combined effort for a better Community.
Thanks for listening. All suggestions are appreciated to contribute to a work in progress.
Jirn Watkins, Camino Del Mar & Kit Leeger, Solana Beach