On January 3, the Del Mar City Council took a major step forward in implementing the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Development Design Review Process Citizens’ Advisory Committee by approving a contract with RRM Design Group. The firm, which has extensive experience in developing design guideline documents and facilitating public outreach in California jurisdictions, has been retained to develop the design guidelines and corresponding Municipal Code revisions needed to clarify and enhance the City’s design review process. The recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee were unanimously approved by the City Council in October 2016.
RRM Design Group was one of four highly qualified planning firms to participate in the competitive selection process. City staff and committee representatives who interviewed the interested consultants, agreed that RRM, which has an office in San Juan Capistrano, has the varied expertise and strong track record needed in developing guidelines and Municipal Code revisions. The firm provides planning, engineering, and architectural services to California public agencies and private entities.
It is expected that the process of preparing the Design Guidelines and Municipal Code revisions for approval by the City Council will take approximately ten months. This process will involve intensive community engagement prior to Council review and consideration, including meetings with the Ad Hoc Committee, the Design Review Board, and the Planning Commission. To facilitate community engagement, the City Council has approved the video recording and broadcasting of up to eight meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee in 2017. Information on the status of the process can be viewed on the City’s Ad Hoc Committee web page under the Public Meetings heading.
With guidance from City staff and the Ad Hoc Committee, RRM will produce a set of user-friendly, graphically-oriented guidelines that promote high-quality design and define standards for the review of development projects. The guidelines will be specific to the unique neighborhood contexts within Del Mar, and applicable to the standards of review in the Municipal Code (zoning, Design Review Ordinance, etc). The specific areas to be addressed in the guidelines include: private and public view obstruction; privacy; structural bulk and mass; and the conservation of natural topography and vegetation. Although the Ad Hoc Committee’s work and the focus of the guidelines is on residential development, the consultant will also meet with the City’s Business Support Advisory Committee in the process of developing limited guidelines for non-residential projects, which will ensure consistency with the other changes being implemented.