City of Del Mar to start Form Based Code outreach

The term “form-based code” just doesn’t do revitalizing Camino del Mar visual justice.

To put a picture to those words, the City Council emphasized the need to help Del Mar residents see renderings of form-based code buildings while also listening to what they have to say.

Form-based codes aim to create walkable, urban environments by altering zoning standards and floor-area ratio requirements to allow more flexibility in how buildings are designed in relationship to their lot, the sidewalk and streets.

The latest proposal to alter zoning standards on Camino del Mar is tentatively scheduled to be on the November 2011 ballot.

To inform voters and get them ready to make a decision, the city council directed city staff to come up with a more interactive educational program to reach out to residents.

Councilman Carl Hilliard spoke highly of a computer simulation program that allowed buildings to be molded on the spot.

An example of a form-based code building would be one with retail on the ground floor with housing or offices on the second story. The program would be able to alter that design to specific aesthetics from one resident to the next.

Del Mar currently limits floor-area ratio to 45 percent of a lot, which Al Corti of the ad hoc form-based code committee member said “precludes revitalization.”

The committee and staff presented the city’s governing body with some strategic ideas for educating the public at Monday night’s meeting.

Council members expressed interest in some of the proposals for the outreach program, including developing an interactive webpage and engaging in in-depth conversations with community members. However, they were not in favor of creating press releases, posters and having television interviews with officials from other cities that have adopted form-based codes, such as Ventura and Petaluma.

“That’s just not going to work in Del Mar,” Hilliard said in a prepared statement that called many aspects of the current proposal a sales job.

Howard Gad, chair of the committee, said the outreach program has always been a work in progress and not meant to be a sales job.

“That was never our intent,” he said.

As for the price tag leading up to the public vote, Interim planning director Brian Mooney, whose contract expires June 30, said it would cost the city $8,000 to place the measure on the ballot, most likely November 2011. He also estimated the cost of an environmental impact report to be $150,000, but at least a third of that expense could be offset by grants.

Councilmember Mark Filanc asked about putting form-based code to a vote before drafting an environmental impact report, but was told any vote before the EIR would be non-binding, and therefore just able to gauge public interest at that time.


General fund contingency back in line with policy

Del Mar’s reserve contingency fund, which fell to 9.84 percent of operations and maintenance expenditures in May’s third quarter budget update, is back above 10 percent and once again in line with city policy.

The general fund contingency represents 36.5 days of operational budget, or 10 percent of the year. It is projected to be $956,831 by June 30, the end of this fiscal year. The third-quarter projection, delivered to the council at its May 3 meeting, had it at $880,980.

The general fund balance is projected to finish the fiscal year with a balance of $2.426 million, but in the third quarter was projected to be about $2.234 million. Staff attributed revenue increases mainly to $50,000 from parking meters, as well as expenses saved from not having to underground utility lines at city parcels in both the North Hills and Sunset districts. Both of those projects were voted down in late April.

Related posts:

  1. Del Mar makes form-based code a priority
  2. Del Mar panel to present ideas on downtown planning standards
  3. New planning tool for revitalizing town
  4. Revitalization plans moving forward
  5. Working toward the future

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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