The FAR-parking relationship

I’ve previously discussed the need to change Del Mar’s parking ordinance. I’m writing this letter to discuss the Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

I believe the General Plan got it right. Forty-five percent lot coverage is about the maximum FAR achievable with on-site parking. Providing one parking space per 300 square foot generally requires off-site parking for when the FAR is greater than 45 percent. The City didn’t have a public parking garage when the General Plan was written, and they still don’t.

The FAR is one of six variables involved with commercial development, along with land cost, building cost, net leasable, take out interest rate, and rent. The spreadsheet below shows that economic benefits result from off-site parking when land costs exceed $100 per square foot and off-site parking spaces cost $35,000. With this spreadsheet, you can plug in your own numbers and see where a development is fundable.


In summary, increasing the FAR will incentivize Del Mar’s re-development, but it can’t happen until Del Mar has a public parking garage; which is years away. However, some properties in Del Mar may become candidates for re-development when reasonable parking standards are established.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar

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