By Kristina Houck
In an effort to support business in Del Mar, the city’s Business Support Advisory Committee presented several recommendations to the council July 7.
Council members established the committee in May 2013 to help suggest ways the city could be more business-friendly. The 11-member committee is composed of up to three retail business owners, two restaurant owners, two property owners, one hotel owner or operator, one office or medical business representative, one Del Mar Plaza representative and one Del Mar Village Association member.
Member KC Vafiadis, who also serves on the board of the Del Mar Village Association, presented the committee’s annual report to the council, which began with a suggestion to cut the committee to nine members. The council later voted to do so while approving its consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion.
“We have gotten together several times and discussed many, many different issues that we feel the city could look at to help the business climate in Del Mar,” Vafiadis said.
She noted the committee unanimously agreed on all of the suggestions presented in the report.
“We have come up with several different recommendations that we would like to pass onto you, as a council, to consider to help out the businesses.”
Most of the committee’s recommendations focused on parking.
With Del Mar moving forward with a master plan for a new city hall, the committee recommended that additional public parking should be offered on the site to offset business impacts. The committee also suggested the city implement diagonal parking wherever possible along Camino Del Mar. Doing so could add as many as 70 to 100 spaces, Vafiadis said. The committee also suggested installing sharrow lanes — like those in Solana Beach — to make the streets safer for cyclists and increase on-street parking.
The committee recommended that business owners encourage employees to park in a designated employee area, an area that is still to be determined. And in an effort to utilize private parking to alleviate parking problems, the committee asked the council to consider establishing a parking management district.
“We just believe that there’s a lot of parking that isn’t being utilized, and if the city could help coordinate a management program that would be voluntary to the property owners, it could really help with the problems we have downtown,” Vafiadis said.
Finally, the committee presented suggested changes to the city’s signage regulations and current parking ordinance.
City Manager Scott Huth noted a comprehensive parking plan for the city would look at the parking suggestions, while suggested changes to signage regulations and the current parking ordinance would have to go before the planning commission and council.