By Richard Earnest
Mayor, Del Mar
In 1976, the citizens of Del Mar created a Community Plan that described their vision for the development of Del Mar. One of the goals of the plan for the village area was to "focus major retail and office activity into an economically viable, pedestrian oriented and attractive area that serves the needs of both residents and visitors...."
An implementing objective is to "encourage the immediate development of a precise plan for the downtown area that includes Camino del Mar circulation, parking, architectural design and walkways." The creation of that precise plan has yet to become a reality.
In 1982, the Jerde Partnership was commissioned to further define the vision of a pedestrian-oriented urban village along Camino del Mar south of 15th Street in their report entitled "Del Mar 2000." Their recommendations reflected the objectives of the Community Plan and would have diminished the impact of the automobile on the pedestrian life downtown. The plan also encouraged new development that varies in density and mixed-use characteristics within guidelines designed to preserve the village scale and character.
In 2004, Cityworks conducted extensive surveys and public workshops while producing their Downtown Village Revitalization Report. The public workshops concluded that the village should have mixed-uses, that the bulk and mass of buildings must be balanced, that consideration must be made for light, air, shade and open space, and that there should be no uniformity of architectural design.
In 2007, the Community Land Use and Economics Group produced the Kennedy-Smith Report, entitled "Revitalization Plan for Del Mar Village." The report recommended that Del Mar "replace the district's existing zoning and appearance codes with a form-based code."
So here we are in 2010 with a commercial downtown that has seen little change in the last 34 years. The Ad Hoc Form-Based Code Advisory Committee proposed an approach to revitalization through the implementation of a "Form Based Code" model. Some members of the community have expressed concerns about the recommended concepts and procedures in the code. Now our task is to engage the community in a dialogue that will result in an approach to revitalization that will be accepted and trusted by a majority of the community.
Because any approach to revitalization will need environmental review and a public vote, it is critically important that the community become involved in the dialogue. I urge you to be a part of the process and help our community achieve the downtown it has envisioned for the last 34 years.