2014 in Del Mar: A year in review


Although Del Mar may be the county’s smallest city, it wasn’t short on stories in 2014. Here’s a look back on the seaside community’s top 10 stories of this year.

Del Mar honors former Mayor Lou Terrell

The council honored former Mayor Lou Terrell with a special proclamation at its Jan. 21 meeting. Terrell, 75, died Jan. 3 when he was struck and killed by a train near Powerhouse Park while chasing his dog across the tracks. The council declared Jan. 21 “Remembering Lou Terrell Day” in the city of Del Mar. A longtime Del Mar resident, Terrell served as mayor and councilman in the 1980s.

City bans e-cigarette use

The council on April 7 amended the city’s existing smoking ordinance to prohibit e-cigarettes in all public places where smoking is banned. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate tobacco smoking, but do not contain tobacco. Users inhale vaporized liquid that may or may not contain nicotine and can include a variety of flavors.

City agrees to wastewater switch

In a unanimous vote, the council on July 7 approved an agreement that will send most of Del Mar’s wastewater through Solana Beach to the San Elijo Water Reclamation Facility in Cardiff, a move that could save the city about $23,000 a year — potentially more in the long-term. Currently, the city’s approximately 600,000 gallons of wastewater per day is treated by the city of San Diego, which costs about $778,700 annually.

Del Mar moves forward with plan for Shores property

Seven years after deciding to purchase Del Mar Shores Park, the city is another step closer to establishing a plan for the site. The council on Oct. 6 awarded a $150,000 contract to Schmidt Design Group to produce a park master plan.

In August 2007, the council voted to buy the $8.5 million property from the school district, with the intent to preserve open space and recreational uses, continue operating The Winston School, and initiate a master plan process. The long-range plan will guide the development of the 5.3-acre park along Camino del Mar.

Community celebrates library’s centennial

Community members gathered Nov. 1 to celebrate Del Mar Library’s centennial, along with the 100-year anniversary of its building. The Del Mar Library was established in 1914. That same year, just a few blocks away, St. James Catholic Church opened its doors. The two institutions eventually came together in 1996, when the library found its permanent home in the former church building at 1309 Camino del Mar.

Community bids farewell to Haydu, welcomes new council

The community honored outgoing Mayor Lee Haydu during her last council meeting Dec. 2. A Del Mar resident for more than 30 years, Haydu was elected to the council in 2010. Following the ceremony, Councilman Terry Sinnott was sworn into his second term and Dwight Worden began his first. Rather than hold a fall election, the council appointed Sinnott and Worden — the only two candidates for two seats — during a special meeting Aug. 20.

Council appoints Al Corti as mayor

In a unanimous vote, council members on Dec. 2 appointed Al Corti as the city’s mayor and Councilwoman Sherryl Parks as deputy mayor. Having served as deputy mayor throughout the last year, Corti replaced retiring Mayor Lee Haydu. A Del Mar resident for more than two decades, Corti was elected to the council in 2012. This is his first term as mayor, a position that rotates among council members.

Del Mar suspends, resumes body camera program

With new guidelines in place, Del Mar’s park ranger resumed wearing a body camera mid-December. Although the ranger has used a camera since 2012, the city temporarily discontinued its program in September. The suspension of the program followed the release of a video that captured a reserve sheriff’s deputy’s angry reaction when he was pulled over by the ranger for using a cellphone while driving.

Del Mar hires consultant to assist with advisory vote on city hall

Del Mar voters could cast a ballot on their choice for a new city hall as early as February. The council on Dec. 15 unanimously agreed to hire a consultant to help the city hold an advisory vote. Although not a formal ballot measure, it is more secure than a survey and more cost-effective than a special election, city officials said.

Hiring a consultant is the city’s latest step in the city hall planning process, which Del Mar initiated in June 2013. Since then, the council has discussed the project at a number of council meetings, issued a citywide survey and held three public workshops.

City issues citizen satisfaction survey

Del Mar residents can share their thoughts on city services through a survey that was open until Dec. 31. The city launched the survey in November, after the council approved the seven-page, online questionnaire during the Oct. 20 meeting. The council will review the results in early 2015. The city last conducted a survey in 2006.