Property owners will have an option to pay a fee instead of constructing parking spaces when a new parking program becomes part of the downtown development plan.
City council members voted Oct. 6 to approve the plan, which states that the fee can be exchanged for no more than 50 percent of a project's required parking. It faces one more vote before taking effect.
The amount will be determined later, but Interim Planning Director Brian Mooney said it is expected to range between $36,000 and $45,000 per parking space.
He said several property owners and prospective developers have indicated the fee range was a reasonable one.
"It's important to get a realistic fee," he said. "We think the market is there."
A large contingency exists? in the program. First, an area must be identified somewhere in the city to make up for the impact of new businesses not providing sufficient on-site parking.
Mooney said several ideas would be explored, including a possible shuttle service from fairgrounds parking lots or from city-owned property such as City Hall or the Del Mar Shores property.
"In effect, we can't immediately collect funds until spaces are identified," Mooney said.
"We just don't have all the answers right now," he added.
The in-lieu program is another in a steady line of code changes the council has designed to stimulate revitalization efforts in Del Mar's downtown core. This is the fifth such code change in less than a month.
An overall specific plan for revitalization is to be explored by the council in November.
Deputy Mayor Crystal Crawford supported the latest change despite the questions associated with it.
"If we never try anything we won't know if something works or not," she said. "We owe it to the community to stop talking about problems and bring something forward."
Council to address credit
Last week we reported the Del Mar City Council would examine securing a bank line of credit for several capital projects, including the Shores property purchase on Oct. 13. That discussion will now take place this coming Monday, Oct. 20 during the council's regularly scheduled meeting.