FAR at the heart of Del Mar development discussion

By Claire Harlin

editor@delmartimes.net

More than 20 years ago, Del Mar implemented a law that is now attributed to holding back the downtown area and stifling development ever since. In an effort to decrease scale, former officials capped the floor-area ratio (FAR) at 0.45, and with 40 percent of downtown businesses pre-dating that law and having FARs of more than 0.45, the strict building code has discouraged existing businesses from doing construction of any kind in the Village.

“At the time it was seen as the best way to control development in downtown, but in actuality it kind of set us into noncompetitive retail,” said Kathy Garcia, Del Mar’s planning and community development director. “What happened was stores couldn’t locate here because there wasn’t enough space for them and property owners didn’t want to redevelop to get a better space because they’d lose square footage.”

This issue is one of many challenges the city is up against in planning downtown revitalization and drafting a Village Specific Plan. On Feb. 20 the Del Mar City Council held a workshop on private realm development — which includes FAR and other issues, such as setback and height. The next of several workshops meant to engage and educate the public about revitalization will focus on parking and be held on March 5.

Garcia said the City Council is leaning toward raising the FAR to 1.0. This would mean that on a 10,000-square-foot lot, the floor area could not exceed 10,000 square feet if one story high. In comparison, a FAR of 0.45 would allow a one-story building of 4,500 square feet or two stories at 2,250 square feet.

“That would not only keep up with the cost of land but these little 0.45 buildings are not really in character with what we are looking at,” she said.

Buildings with a FAR of 0.45 or less include Crepes and Corks, located at 1328 Camino Del Mar, and Board-N-Brew, located at 1212 Camino Del Mar. On the larger side, the Stratford Court building located at 15th and Camino Del Mar has a FAR of 1.52. The Gallery Building, located at 1130 Camino Del Mar and including Bindu Yoga and Bella Villa Spa, has a FAR of 1.0.

Opinions on FAR have been somewhat polarized, and the City Council is looking for more input.

“There are a number of people saying ‘We don’t need it because if you control height and how far back it goes, why would you need an extra control?’” said Garcia. “Some are saying don’t change it at all and others say that 1.0 is in keeping with scale as we see appropriate.”

Land use is another major aspect of private realm development being discussed in Del Mar. The City is looking into upping residential use significantly downtown and including some 20 units per acre (now there are only two residential units along Camino Del Mar). Officials hope to see the percentages of office space decrease to make room for more parking, lodging, retail and restaurants.

The “built-to-line,” which controls how close to the street a building is built, is also prominent in the discussion. For example, Garcia said the Village will be more pedestrian friendly if parking is not placed between the street and building, possibly inhibiting the continuity of a sidewalk.

Councilman Don Mosier said he supports the proposed 26-foot height limit on both the west and east side of Camino Del Mar, as long is there is some interesting building articulation to go along with that. Currently the height limit is only 14 feet on the west side.

“I would not want to see a row of 26-foot buildings one adjacent to the other,” he said. “There are places where a two-story building works well, and there are places where they don’t work well.”

To share input on these issues or others relating to revitalization, email conversations@delmar.ca.us. For more information, visit www.delmar.ca.us and follow the link to “Village Revitalization.”

Related posts:

  1. Del Mar downtown property owner to use alternative means to ease parking
  2. Del Mar council asks staff to prepare specific plan for downtown revitalization
  3. New Del Mar planning and community development director appointed
  4. Zoning change would hurt quality of life in Del Mar
  5. Del Mar: Community review next phase of village revitalization

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=32100

Posted by Staff on Feb 29, 2012. Filed under Del Mar, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Community input received on proposed health club and pool facility in Rancho Santa Fe
    About 100 Rancho Santa Fe residents showed up on Friday, Oct. 17, for a health club and pool community meeting, the last outreach before ballots were mailed on Monday, Oct. 20. On the ballots, members are being asked whether the Rancho Santa Fe Association should spend $350,000 on a professional planning phase for the potential new community amenity. RSF Ass […]
  • Czech violin duo to perform at Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe
    In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, the Czech School San Diego hosts a free classical violin concert by internationally recognized Czech violin player Jaroslav Svecený and his daughter, Julie Svecená, who are on a tour of the United States. The concert will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Village Church. The father-daughter duo will […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe weekly sports update
    Torrey Pines defeated Canyon Crest Academy 4-3 in a Palomar League opener for both teams on Oct. 9. Alayna Tomlinson and Farah Farjood each scored two goals to lead the Falcons. Samantha “Sammy” Cirino added one goal and one assist. […]