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Fact-Check Summary

The Sandpiper Fact-Checks
the Del Mar Election.

#1 Garden Project  |  #2 Revitalization  | #3 Train Track Crossing

Fact-Check Summary 1-3 

As part of our election coverage, the Sandpiper will be analyzing the accuracy of candidate statements on key issues, and publishing Fact-Checks where our analysis shows that candidates' assertions on important issues are factually wrong or misleading.
Fact-Check #4:  
Measure R

The Claim:
“Measure R does not change our Community Plan, Housing Element, or Municipal Code, other than requiring a public vote, voter approval, when a proposed project on a commercial property of 25,000 square feet or larger cannot be legally built under our present CP and zoning laws.

~Arnie Wiesel, opening statement at the City of Del Mar Measure R Forum, 10/05/16 (video at 00:09:24)

The Real Story:
In addition to imposing voter approval requirements for commercial property 25,000 square feet or larger, Measure R amends the Community Plan by deleting two specific objectives relating to mixed residential-commercial land uses. These amendments do not relate to the proposed Watermark Project.
Measure R deletes two specific provisions of the Community Plan (CP) unrelated to voter approval of large projects.

Under Goal 4 of the Community Development Element of the CP, Objective B states: “INSURE THAT THE DOWNTOWN AREA IS WELL INTEGRATED INTO THE RESIDENTIAL FABRIC OF THE COMMUNITY.” Under that objective are five specific objectives. The following two would be deleted from the CP by Measure R:

  • 3. Explore mixed residential-commercial land uses within the commercial area that is adjacent to Stratford Court.
  • 4. Allow mixed residential-commercial land uses within other areas of the commercially zoned downtown area.

These are substantive and significant changes to the Community Plan’s objectives. Mixed-use development can be a key strategy in both downtown revitalization and compliance with affordable housing requirements. Further, these objectives are unrelated to the 25,000 sq. ft. threshold that proponents claim applies to Measure R. Nor do these objectives relate to the Watermark property, which is in the North Commercial zone, and is not adjacent to Stratford Court or in the downtown area.

read the full Measure R story here

Measure R City Attorney Memorandum 

Dwight Worden, R: A Measure Too Far 

Fact-Check #3:  
Train track Crossing
In response to a recent law enforcement campaign by North County Transit District to enforce “no trespassing” laws against pedestrians crossing the railroad tracks in Del Mar, all Council members and candidates have stated support for providing a legal pedestrian crossing on the Del Mar bluffs, and for removing the tracks from the bluffs sooner than currently planned. The bluffs are a sensitive coastal feature, and the LA-San Diego rail corridor is the second busiest in the U.S., with 50+ trains per day.

The Claims:

"We can easily provide legal railroad crossings within 2 years." ~Al Corti, T. Pat Stubbs (Candidate Forum)

"It is state law, and we should go to our state legislature to solve the rail crossing issue"  ~Jim Benedict (Candidate Forum)


The Real Story:

Providing a legal rail crossing on the Del Mar bluffs will be a huge challenge. There are serious questions about whether one acceptable to the community can be approved at all, and 2 years is a demonstrably unrealistic timeline. Federal and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) policies and regulations, and recent experiences in Encinitas and San Clemente, demonstrate the legal and technical complexity of these crossings. Given the authority of the federal agencies and the CPUC, this is not a
problem that can be solved by “going to our state legislature.”

read the full Train Track Crossing story here

Fact-Check #2:  
Downtown Revitalization

The Claims:

Under Measure B, nothing has been built downtown since the Plaza and L'Auberge. ~Al Corti, T. Pat Stubbs (Candidate Forum)

“The current and past city councils have left us with a dying downtown [and] a major retail center that has an eye-popping forty percent vacancy rate...” ~T. Pat Stubbs (website)

The Real Story:

Since Measure B applies to only 3 parcels based on lot size, all of which have voter-approved plans, it is not responsible for blocking downtown development. Notable projects have been developed post-Measure B, and the City has made significant public investments in downtown improvements and promotion.  Ultimately, property owners decide how to use their commercial properties, and the Del Mar Plaza’s underperforming status reflects that fact, with overseas owners and nonlocal representatives responsible for business decisions that have resulted in the Plaza’s current state.

read the full Revitalization story here

Fact-Check #1:  

Development proposal - Camino del Mar and 10th St

The Garden Project “absolutely got beat up when it came to this town; it was voter-approved, but it was so watered down by the time that the voters got to it by the powers that be that the banks didn’t want to touch it.”

~T. Pat Stubbs (KOGO Interview; similarly, Candidate Forum)

The Garden Project was approved by the City in a form acceptable to the developers and the community, with an 84.5% public vote of approval in Nov. 2008; it was derailed not by any action by the City, but by the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. 

read the full Garden Project story here


Watch this space for upcoming Fact-Checks on key election issues:

  • Short term rental businesses
  • The Ad Hoc Committee
  • Measure R





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