Draft environmental report on new Del Mar city hall available for public comment

With the draft environmental impact report for the proposed city hall now available for review, the project moves another step closer to reality.

Located on the site of the city’s facilities at 1050 Camino del Mar, the proposed project includes a 9,250-square-foot city hall in the middle of the site slightly to the south, a 3,200-square-foot multipurpose town hall in the southeast corner, and a 15,000-square-foot plaza fronting Camino del Mar.

The town hall would accommodate council chambers, community meeting space and Del Mar TV studios. City hall and town hall would be connected by a weather-protected glass breezeway with large pivoting doors.

The plan features a 4,500-square-foot public overlook in the northwest corner of the lot and a total of 11,700 square feet of open space available for future expansion. The plan also includes a two-level underground parking garage on a third of the site, with surface parking on another third of the site for about 160 parking spaces.

If all goes according to schedule, Del Mar’s facilities will be demolished in early 2016, with the new city hall and town hall under construction in mid-2016. City administrative offices and council chambers will be temporarily relocated during that time to modular buildings in the lower parking lot of Del Mar Shores Park.

As part of the required California Environmental Quality Act review, the city’s consulting firm RECON Environmental, prepared the draft Environmental Impact Report.

According to the environmental analysis, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, traffic agriculture and forestry resources, biological resources, hazards and hazardous materials, mineral resources, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, population and housing, public services, recreation, and utilities and service systems, would not be significantly affected by the project.

The report, however, found a few areas that could be significantly affected and require mitigation. These include the cultural resources of the project site and temporary relocation site, including improvements to the driveway at the Shores property.

“Resources that weren’t previously uncovered during the initial grading of the site could be encountered during excavation for the parking garage,” Alyssa Muto of RECON said.

Other effects that require mitigation include noise from construction and operation at both sites, as well as aesthetics, including landscaping, building features, and light and glare.

Finally, the report also found that the impacts to the aesthetics of the project site — with construction of the building pad in the northeastern part of the property on the civic plaza — would be significant and unmitigable.

RECON also considered project alternatives that would lessen or avoid impacts. These include no redevelopment or new development of the existing properties. A reduced project alternative suggested removing the parking spaces along the western perimeter in the surface parking lot, as well as no expansion of the building pad.

As for the temporary site, the report suggested holding public hearings at Powerhouse Community Center or the Winston School. Temporary facilities could also be placed on the upper Shores Park property. Last, the city could temporarily house its administrative offices at commercial properties.

The draft EIR will be available for a 45-day public comment period.

The report, which was released Sept. 11, can be downloaded from the city’s website at Copies are also available to review at city hall and the Del Mar Library.

A community workshop will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Del Mar Communications Center to discuss the project’s design evolution and draft EIR comments.

Written comments are due to the city by 5 p.m. Oct. 26 and can be delivered to 1050 Camino del Mar or emailed to