The VSP (Prop J) was created through the hard work of many. It has been a great academic exercise with public participation, and many of its ideas are good ideas that should be implemented in the future. I stand committed to downtown revitalization and worked on a similar plan in the Form Based Code Committee, attended many neighborhood meetings on the VSP, and met one-on-one with city staff. I worked in every way to make the VSP as “good as it could be.” After re-reading the entire VSP document, I have concluded that the VSP has fallen short of its potential and my expectations. Del Mar does not have the luxury of a separation between the commercial and residential properties, making it imperative that we develop a downtown that is compatible with and sensitive to neighboring residential activities. The VSP is an extremely complex document that will benefit commercial property owners but will have an enormous, lasting and negative impact on our residential community and quality of life.
Many of the promises of the VSP are wishful thinking — predicated on obtaining grants or hoping the VSP incentives entice developers — they are only “possibilities” under the VSP. The only guarantee in the VSP is larger, more intense development. Some of the negative impacts are the unintended consequences of well intentioned planning. Other negatives result from the lack of a defined sequencing of development – e.g. there is no requirement that traffic and parking (roundabouts, garages) be dealt with prior to larger, commercial development under the VSP. The VSP mentions paid parking downtown as a source of funding for the garage – ideas like this have not been thoroughly vetted – what will it mean to businesses, and to the residential neighborhoods? There may be a specific plan in our future, but this document is not right for Del Mar, and I urge everyone to join me in voting “No on J.”