Del Mar prioritizes, reviews $6.1 million in upcoming projects

By Claire Harlin

With a few minor changes, the Del Mar City Council on Feb. 25 approved a city list of about 35 projects totaling about $6.1 million to be funded over the next five years, with parking management, new water meters, sidewalks and water master-planning being among the most budgeted and highest priorities. After departmental reviews, the proposed document will be distributed and reviewed by the finance committee in April, with workshops in May and adoption in June.

Ninety projects were reviewed by city staff, with about 25 being deferred and 30 listed as unfunded in addition to those approved. In a separate list, councilmembers also identified their overall must-dos by ranking them and averaging the results. Top priorities were streetscape projects, construction of the North Torrey Pines Bridge and the city’s housing element, which is underway, with feedback expected from the state in March and City Council adoption anticipated in April. Almost all the street projects the city has planned for the next seven years have a sidewalk element, said City Manager Scott Huth.

The council made a few changes to the list of projects brought forth by the city.

One particular item that was left off the funding schedule — a fence replacement along the bluff north of Sea Cliff Park — caused a stir with the council, especially Councilman Al Corti, who said that made him question the entire budgeting process. He said the fence, which he has observed on visits to that area, is falling down and presents a safety issue.

“That’s immediate maintenance that we should be jumping on top of instead of having a discussion about,” Corti said.

Mosier agreed that the fence is a liability to the city, and said he thinks it is more important than a land surveying project the city had proposed at $25,000. Huth said the surveying is important in that “we don’t have a well mapped out inventory of property” in the city.

Del Mar Mayor Terry Sinnott also suggested the addition of an additional item, the removal of the maintenance building on the city-owned Del Mar Shores property.

“It presents a safety issue,” said Sinnott. “I’m worried about it.”

Huth agreed that it costs money to keep it there, and the city is looking to find the money to get the structure off of the property.

Creating a Shores property master plan is also a top priority for the council, and Corti brought up the idea of rolling that initiative together with the master planning of the City Hall property, which has also been prioritized. But he acknowledged the warning of Jacqueline Winterer, who said nothing gets done when the city bites off more than it can chew.

Sinnott also suggested that the city move a governance related to the fairgrounds up on the list of priorities, making it a must-do. The item relates to ongoing discussions of creating a new governance model for the fairgrounds, which would likely include more local input from surrounding cities.

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