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Bluff Protection
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

In 1976, Del Mar voters approved the Bluff, Slopes and Canyons (BSC) Precise Plan “in order to preserve the scenic sandstone bluffs … which characterize the area within the Zone; ” it was enacted as one of Del Mar’s five Overlay Zones the same year. The other four are the Floodplain, Open Space, Lagoon and Historic Preservation Overlay Zones and create special districts over existing base zones. The BSC Overlay Zone currently covers the entire property of the proposed Marisol Specific Plan on the March 3 ballot as Proposition G. Adoption of the Marisol Plan would replace the BSC zone as well as the underlying zones R1-14, R1-40 and a sliver of BC with the Marisol Specific Plan. What is the difference?

The Design Review Section 30.52.080 for the Overlay Zone currently reads: “Unless otherwise exempted by this Chapter no building… shall be erected…; nor shall any lot… be … graded for any purpose including but not limited to in-ground structures such as swimming pools or spas…until a Design Review Permit is first obtained with the procedures set forth in this Code.. In addition….the Design Review Permit shall be reviewed under the following standards: “(Section 30.52.080 A) In order to preserve view sheds and the open space appearance of the area from a distance structures shall be designed to be subservient to the natural landforms on the site (and)….no structure shall exceed a height of 14 feet…unless the Design Review Board finds that scenic view sheds and open space appearance will be less affected by higher structures.”

The Marisol Plan “would remove the existing residential designation and apply the following designation: 11.80 acres of Visitor-Serving Accommodation (VSA), 3.07 acres of Parkland/Passive Open Space, 1.21 acres of Coastal Bluff Protection and 1.37 acres of Steep Slope Protection.” The VSA would allow a 65 guest-rooms hotel, 31 villas (27 of which may be divided into additional 146 hotel guest rooms), 10 low-cost visitor accommodations, swimming pools and new restaurants. The Plan involves 14, 26 and 46-foot high buildings, a 57% Floor Area Ratio (410,970 sq. ft.) compared to 25% (106,940 sq. ft.) in the R1-14 and R1-40 zones, and three story underground parking. The Plan also provides public access, beach showers and restrooms and 22 units of affordable housing and projects $5.96 million per year in tax revenue for the City. The Plan also states that “Where there is a conflict between….this Specific Plan and the Del Mar Municipal Code, the provisions of the Specific Plan shall prevail.”

Which bluff will it be? Del Mar residents will decide on March 3 when they vote on Measure G.

Ed note: Quote from page 25 of the Specific Plan: “This is a conceptual plan. The depictions are illustrative only and are not binding as to the exact configuration and location of the uses and improvements. The conceptual plan is subject to the public review procedures and requirements for Subsequent Project Approvals in Chapter 5, Implementation, Administration and Financing.”



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