Letter indicates developer displeasure
The Garden Del Mar, the mixed-use project slated for the site of a former gas station in Del Mar seems to be in serious jeopardy after a contentious City Council meeting on Monday and a subsequent letter sent by one of the project's developers to City Council members and members of a city steering committee stating the project would not be pursued. The e-mail letter obtained by this paper and written by co-developer Bryn Stroyke, states: "It is with great sadness that I must tell you that The Garden Del Mar project will not be moving forward."
The sticking point with Stroyke seems to center on so-called "exceptional public benefits" associated with the project's approval process. At Monday's council meeting, which was intended to grant final approvals to allow placement of the project on November's ballot, benefits proposed by Mayor Dave Druker and Councilman Richard Earnest were met with negativity by several members of a public steering committee, which had met over 60 times to vet the project. A major disagreement arose over a proposed monetary payment to the city, which several committee members thought should be in the $250,000 range. Druker and Earnest had suggested a payment half that amount. When contacted Tuesday, Stroyke said he and co-developer Nick Schaar could not afford that larger amount and without a consensus of support worried that the project would not be successful at the ballot box.
"The project is dead as configured," said Stroyke. "We need political support for this to make it happen. We need to figure out what our options are. We were blindsided last night by people close to this project."
The council had called for a special meeting this coming Monday, July 28 to continue discussion of the project. It was not known at press time whether that meeting would still be held. Several approvals need to be made by the council before Aug. 8 for the project to make November's ballot.