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DM Resort in Review
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

The Sandpiper is closely following the community conversation about the Del Mar Resort, currently in the early planning stages. We will update readers when more information becomes available, and we have posted pro and con letters online 0n our website.

The City is putting together information to help residents better understand the Specific Plan process currently underway for the Del Mar Resort project that would rezone 16 acres of residential property to visitor commercial. Located at the corner of Camino del Mar and Border Ave. the property sits on the North Beach bluff between the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach on the Del Mar side. The Specific Plan process, which allows a Community Plan amendment in exchange for requiring Exceptional Public Benefits, was authorized by City Council on June 19, 2017.

The authorization required the applicant’s commitment to conduct extensive public outreach, which began in the fall of 2017 and has continued through informational sessions ending on September 13, 2018. The gathering of public feedback is expected to wind up at a joint Planning Commission/Design Review Board workshop on October 17 when the applicant will present a summary of the feedback they have collected to the two boards and the public. The meeting will also be opened to the public for comment. The formal review process, including Design Review Board and Planning Commission hearings and final City Council consideration of the Environmental Impact Report, Community Plan Amendment and Coastal Development Permit is not expected until Spring 2019. The Community Plan Amendment requires a 4/5 Council vote or public vote of approval.

Despite the multi-year process of public feedback and legislative review, the public’s attention peaked when story poles for the project, a resort complex which includes a 250-room hotel, 76 private villas, restaurants, swimming pools and underground parking, were erected on August 10, 2018. The four-story elements, the density and buildings sitting on the property line with the North Beach preserve above Dog Beach, alarmed a number of residents. Many attended the Citizen Participation Workshop on August 27 expecting to provide feedback to City Council, not realizing it was the second of the required public presentations by the developers with an opportunity for written comments only.

In the meantime, the Draft Environmental Impact Report, being prepared by an environmental consultant selected by the City, will be released for public review and comment soon. The 45-day public review period will begin on the release date after which the Final EIR including responses to all comments, and including any revisions and mitigation measures will be considered by the Planning Commission and certified by City Council. According to the City the EIR will “address traffic, geotechnical and bluff stability, greenhouse gas emission, community character and other impact areas required by the California Environmental Quality Act.” In addition to public comment, significant issues raised in the Draft EIR will be responded to in writing by the City. The Final EIR with responses to comments is estimated for release in Spring/Summer 2019.

 

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