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Ann Gardner | Via Latina

The second floor of Stratford Square
was once residential.
Painting Del Mar Corner by Darrell Swenson.

How and where to provide more housing, including more affordable housing, in Del Mar? Those questions were answered by almost 300 Del Mar residents and property owners in the City’s Housing Element Community Survey released on March 16 and extended to April 20. Participants were asked to indicate their preferences for achieving three housing goals: preservation of existing housing stock, production of housing stock, and community assistance programs. According to the May 4th staff report to City Council, survey results indicate a preference for:

1. Fee reduction with the City reducing/subsidizing Planning Department fees related to project with an affordable housing component.

2. Allowing residential development in the Downtown Village AND incentivizing the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

3. Respondents favored, by a wide margin, community Assistance for seniors that allow older residents to age-in-place and have access to resources for their well-being. There was less support for military veterans, homeless, and in-need students.

4. North Commercial (NC) and Village Center areas were the most desired locations for future housing. The NC area is located at the intersection of Jimmy Durante Blvd. and San Dieguito Drive near the Fairgrounds. The area is relatively flat and comprised of mixed commercial uses. The Village Center is described as containing a diversity of land uses and physical quality. Retail is separated into 1) the original commercial center at the southwest corner of Camino del Mar and 15th St. and the Plaza at the northeast corner with scattered restaurants and specialty shops between 10th and 13th streets along Camino del Mar.

5. Most favored incentives out of eight listed to develop more housing were expedited building permits, a streamlined design review process and fee reductions. Least favored were additional height allowances and reduced setbacks.

The Survey was one of the opportunities residents had to participate in the Sixth Cycle Housing Element planning process before COVID-19 impacted a second public workshop and the Citizens’ Task Force meetings. The Housing Element is mandated by the State to provide programs and policies to provide more housing for all income levels. Input from the February 29 workshop, early meetings of the Task Force and the Survey have contributed input from residents on how to meet this requirement. The Task Force assigned to represent the community will discuss their concluding report at the June 15 City Council meeting, available via teleconference. All input will be considered by City Council as they prepare a Draft Program EIR that will review the environment impact of proposed changes in City policies, later this month when the Draft will be released for a 60-day public review.



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