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Friends with Benefits
Bud Emerson | Klish Way

Three Specific Plan projects area currently in the review process: Watermark, 941, Del Mar Resort. All three plans will involve changes in zoning, density, or use. The advantage of the Specific Plan approach is that the proposed changes trigger a process of proposing “exceptional benefits (EPB)” from the applicant so the community benefits from the change.

Our previous experience with EPBs suggests we be alert to how we determine their nature. First, public involvement helps us evaluate whether these EPBs are truly esceptional values to the community. Secondly, it is critical that the approved EPBs actually get implemented (sorry to say that has not always been the case in the past).

City staff has done a good job of listing the various kinds of EPBs we might consider as the community weighs in on these three projects. The goal is for the community to benefit as much from the EPBs as the applicant benefits from the change. The City staff-produced list below shows EPB choices we could make that would be equivalent to the value of the proposed changes in land use.

1. Affordable housing beyond what is required by the Del Mar Municipal Code. For example, additional dedicated units on site, additional funding for acquisition of off-site units, etc.

2. Providing Public Open Space. For example, acquire private property adjacent to lagoon, other open spaces, or the railroad right-of-way to open up areas for public use and benefit.

3. Provide public trail improvements beyond what is required by the entitlement process. For example, implement trail segments as described in the Community Plan.

4. Provide public improvements to existing open spaces and preserves. For example, rehabilitation of the Scripps (North) Bluff Preserve.

5. Provide funding, design services and/or construction of Lagoon Trails. For example, Phase 3 of RiverPath Del Mar from Grand Avenue to Crest Canyon, Coast to Crest Trail completion from Jimmy Durante Blvd along the north side of the Lagoon.

6. Safe Rail crossings and Coastal Rail trail improvements. For example, funding of feasibility studies, development and/or construction of the Coastal Rail Trail as well as pedestrian rail crossings along the corridor.

7. Sand Replenishment Program. For example, moving sand onto Del Mar beaches and year-round sand maintenance to maintain usable beach areas.

8. Greenhouse Gas reduction efforts beyond what is required. For example, LEED Gold or Platinum/CalGreen Tier 2 certified buildings, Solar energy production beyond site needs, and implementation of unfunded Climate Action Plan items.

9. Additional Public Parking beyond requirements by code. For example, provision of additional on-site public parking and/or contributions to the funding and implementation of public, off-site parking.

10. Public Restrooms. For example, provision of and/or maintenance of additional public restrooms in beaches, parks or open spaces as needed.

11. Public Art. For example, provisions for implementing the Public Art program (under development).

12. Public Shuttle. For example, provision of, or funding for a public shuttle from downtown to beach areas and major transit stops.

13. Streetscape Improvements. For example, funding for currently unfunded Capital Improvement Projects, such as Downtown Streetscape phases, etc.

14. Shores Park improvements. For example, provision of funding to implement the master plan (under development).

15. Undergrounding of Utilities beyond what is required. For example, implementation of the utilities undergrounding program (under development).

16. Recycled water line improvements. For example, continuation of the recycled water line in the public right of way to parks, medians and open spaces.

17. Additional revenues to the City. Additional TOT, Sales Tax, or other revenues that can enhance public services beyond the current level.



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