Online poll will let Del Mar residents rank options for City Hall amenities

Registered voters in Del Mar will soon have a chance to voice their choice on what the new city hall complex should offer the community.

Finalizing the survey language, the Del Mar City Council on Jan. 20 unanimously approved the release of an online poll that will allow registered voters to rank three options for the facilities that will replace the city hall at 1050 Camino del Mar.

The online “Voice Your Choice” poll will describe the three options and include pop-up windows for detailed information, such as costs and features. Respondents will be asked to rank each option as a first, second or third choice.

While all three options feature a 9,250-square-foot city hall, 3,200-square-foot town hall and 15,000-square-foot civic plaza, they differ on parking and other uses.

Option A features civic uses only. It includes approximately 60 surface parking lot stalls and is estimated to cost $7 million to $8 million.

Options B and C feature civic uses plus additional parking and space for future development.

Estimated to cost $9 million to $14 million, Option B includes approximately 160 parking stalls, 60 stalls in a surface parking lot and 100 stalls in a parking structure. It also supports approximately 11,000 square feet of future development area and approximately 100 additional parking stalls.

Estimated to cost $12 million to $18 million, Option C includes approximately 160 parking stalls in a below-grade parking structure. It also supports approximately 20,000 square feet of future development area and approximately 100 additional parking stalls.

A public awareness campaign for the poll will launch Jan. 26. During that time, informational materials, including a unique password, will be mailed to registered voters. Voters will have from 8 a.m. Feb. 2 through 5 p.m. Feb. 13 to submit the survey.

A polling station with a tablet will be at City Hall. Paper surveys will also be available. Results will be presented to the council at the March 2 meeting.

During the meeting, city officials also made it clear “Voice Your Choice” is a poll, not an election. Because online voting is not allowed in California, the city received a letter from the secretary of state with concerns about the way the process was presented in a December staff report.

“This is an exciting, positive process,” said Councilman Dwight Worden. “We need like a poke in the eye with a stick to have some sort of black-eye claim that somehow we’re doing something wrong in the way we’re fashioning the ballot measure.”

Since receiving the letter, all references to the survey as an election were removed. The modified documents were submitted to state officials, who verbally said they had no problems with the new language, said Assistant City Attorney Barry Schultz.

An organization called Verified Voting also contacted the city, claiming that the survey could still be misinterpreted as an election, since it is only open to registered voters.

City Manager Scott Huth said the city frequently sends surveys to registered voters.

“It’s not prohibited,” Schultz added.