2009: A look back

City of Del Mar celebrates 50 years

2009 was the city of Del Mar's golden anniversary. It was a year of celebrations and reminiscing, a year when the city went smoke-free, sidewalk cafes sprung to life and parents fought to save a neighborhood school. Here's a look back at the stories that kept Del Mar moving in 2009.

New life for downtown

On Jan. 12, City Council approved moving forward with developing form-based codes to help revitalize the downtown commercial area. "Form-based codes" means tailoring zoning regulations to each parcel, how a building is designed and positioned on a lot.

The codes may allow for redevelopment of commercial buildings in the hopes of attracting more businesses to the village.

Since May, the form-based codes committee has been meeting — an open house for public input will be held in December with the aim to have a draft plan available by spring 2010.

Raising the roof

The Del Mar Arena at the Del Mar Fairgrounds reopened on April 16, following a $15 million renovation that included installation of a 76,267-square-foot roof. Officials marked the completion of the project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to coincide with the start of the three-week Del Mar National Horse Show, which started the same day in the arena.

7/11 drama 24-7

The 7/11 committee formed in April to study the use of surplus space within the Del Mar Union School District. The seven-person committee has looked at the possibility of closing a campus to find a new home for the district office and help with the district's budgetary shortfalls. The process has caused Del Mar Hills and Del Mar Heights parents to rally in opposition to closing the Hills and merging Hills and Heights.

As of December, there have been 17 meetings, three public hearings and recommendation to the board has been delayed until January.

Undergrounding

Details for the plan to move utility wires underground in the North Hills and Sunset districts in the city were ironed out at the April 20 City Council meeting.

The districts proceed toward construction in 2010, if property owners approve paying for the improvements, although people in both districts have expressed concern to City Council about the fairness of assessment rates.

Voting was expected to occur in the fall but has since been delayed.

If approved, North Hills was to be completed in January 2011 and Sunset by March 2011.

Library gets a new look

The Del Mar Library's expansion was celebrated on April 16, with the new digs including a new 550-square-foot community room that was described by many as a dream come true.

"I am so thrilled to have it," said Pat Freeman, treasurer of the Friends of the Del Mar Library, which donated $50,000 toward the $250,000 project.

In December the library also completed their landscaping project, which added a succulent garden and a new eye-catching wave sculpture by artist James Hubbell to the Camino Del Mar frontage.

Walk remembers a treasured friend

The Jerry Finnell Lagoon to Lagoon Memorial Walk was held on May 16. Beginning at Torrey Pines State Beach, participants walked two miles along the sand to Dog Beach. The walk honored the city's civic leaders of the past 50 years but especially Jerry Finnell, former mayor and City Council member who died of cancer in 2008.

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