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Deciphering Design
Draft Moves Forward
Dolores Davies | Crest Road

At its March 7 meeting, the Ad Hoc Design Review Process Citizens Advisory Committee (known as Ad Hoc), heard a presentation from RRM Design Group, the consultant retained by the City of Del Mar in January 2017, to develop a set of design guidelines to supplement the City’s Design Review Ordinance (DRO).
With the substantial research needed to develop the document now completed, RRM has begun drafting the guidelines and solicited feedback on formatting preferences, organizing principles, and the balance between text and graphics.Through the use of text and graphics, the Design Guidelines will provide quantifiable standards and criteria that will reduce subjectivity by adding needed clarity and detail to the DRO standards.

During their presentation, RRM staff presented various samples of table of contents, sample page layouts from other cities, and a detailed outline of the issues and topics to be addressed within the guidelines document. A discussion ensued about the need for the document to be clearly understood, easy to use, and applicable to applicants—both property owners and their architects or other representatives—and Design Review Board members and City Planning staff, who will use the document in their project review and decision making. At the same time, the document also needs to be easily understood by Del Mar residents and neighbors.

At the meeting, discussion also occurred about the need to have call-out boxes of text—color-coded, perhaps—for greater focus. RRM staff stressed that while the Guidelines will need to be accessible in digital and print formats, the use of illustrations, 3-D modeling, and dos and don’ts, should be used as much as possible throughout.

Although the Design Guidelines will relate to all aspects of the building and landscape design process, they will focus especially on those issues that have been most problematic in the past, such as private and public view blockage, privacy, structural bulk and mass, and the conservation of natural topography and vegetation.

At the March meeting, RMM staff said they are on target for producing a complete first draft document for Ad-Hoc Committee and public review at the committee’s May 18 meeting. Following release of the initial draft in May, City staff and the consultant are anticipating that a draft of the document for review by the DRB will be available in July, with further City and Planning Commission approvals—as well as needed zoning code changes—anticipated for fall 2017.

Interested members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft Design Guidelines at the May 18 meeting. In addition, all Ad Hoc committee meetings are televised and can be viewed from the City of Del Mar website.


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