Del Mar Mesa board makes progress on financing Maintenance Assessment District

By Suzanne Evans

Forming a maintenance assessment district (MAD) for Del Mar Mesa residents to fund the rural community’s beautification and improvements, is “still a struggle,” Mesa board member Paul Metcalf said at the Del Mar Mesa community planning board’s Oct. 11 meeting.

A yearly “special benefit” fee assessed residents will fund landscaping, trail maintenance, security, lighting, and a long-awaited transformation of a vacant lot into a community park.  The fee is for maintenance service above and beyond what the city normally provides, while maintenance to streets, sewers and sidewalks is the city’s responsibility, Metcalf said.

Chair Gary Levitt said there is $800,000 in the bank from Facilities Benefit Assessment fees paid as homes are built, $200,000 of which will go toward the park.

“The city will be reluctant to move ahead until all the money is in the bank, but we can begin grading, so there is progress,” Levitt.

There are essentially two MAD’s — the city’s and Del Mar Mesa’s, which “cannot go forward until we see what the city does,” board member Lisa Ross pointed out.  Still to be determined are the exact projects the city will pay for, versus fees homeowners will pay to fund their special project requests. “We are at about (an estimated monthly fee per parcel of) $25 to $50, depending on what levels of service we choose,” Ross said, adding, because the fee is self-assessed, it is not a tax.

Metcalf said Latitude 33 land planning and engineering will no longer handle the engineer’s report detailing MAD projects and their potential assessment fees for parcel owners, and another engineering entity that specializes in MAD reports will handle it.  Highlighting benefits for parkways and trails, the engineer’s report will identify maintenance improvements, level of service, and assign reasonable costs.  The Del Mar Mesa Specific Plan places regulations on lot sizes, lighting, fencing and street design, in keeping with the mesa’s rural community.

Council District 1 Sherri Lightner’s representative, Mel Millstein, said Lightner is considering how to put Del Mar Mesa’s park on line as a part of Proposition C, proposed to fund open space parks.

“The city will want to collect more money before they go out to bid — so they have the money on hand to award the contract,” Levitt said.  Projects such as trail maintenance, grooming strips of land in the right of way immediately behind curbs along some streets, and the transformation of a patch of weeds adjacent to Duck Pond into a neighborhood park “will increase the value of our homes.”

Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Briefs

October 11, 2010 meeting

   
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