By Marlena Chavira-Medford
A former office space in downtown Del Mar will soon be converted into a restaurant, a change that means the building it’s housed in will have to meet a different set of parking standards.
Property owner George Conkwright intends to change an approximately 1,400-square-foot space at 1201 Camino del Mar, suite #200, into a restaurant. According to the city code, that creates a deficit of 20 parking spaces for the building, including the removal of the Town & Country parking, a removal that Conkwright also proposed.
Therefore, property owner George Conkwright requested that he be allowed to participate in the Camino del Mar Pilot Program, which allows those in Del Mar Village between 12th and 15th streets to find alternative ways to meet the city’s parking standards, such as valet service. He also requested that he be allowed to alternatively meet those standards through the Del Mar Village Association’s (DMVA) public valet program, which helps to ease parking during peak busy times downtown.
In December, the city’s planning director gave Conkwright the green light to use the pilot program and the DMVA public valet program, with the conditions that he included new signage, monitoring, and should there be an impact, he would also provide other means of parking per the city code.
In January, Ralph Peck, a Del Mar resident and owner of the commercial property located at 333 11th Street, appealed that decision citing several concerns over the validity and legality of the approval.
After conducting its de novo hearing Feb. 22, the city council agreed to allow Conkwright to participate in the pilot program and the DMVA public valet program for the times it is in effect.
However, because the DMVA public valet program does not operate all year or all day, Conkwright was also required to find another supplemental form of parking, as allowed by the city code. Possible solutions include a private valet, off-site and shared parking.
The building at 1201 Camino del Mar is about 10,275 total square feet, and is a mixed use of office and restaurant space.
The Camino del Mar Pilot Program was authorized by city council last April for a period of two years. It aims to boost the revitalization of downtown by easing the parking situation for customers.