Del Mar grants $25,000 loan to DMVA

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The nonprofit Del Mar Village Association will receive a $25,000 advance from the city to support its work in the local business community, part of the city’s effort to ease the financial fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding will be provided from the city’s Measure Q fund, and will be paid back to the city from future transient occupancy tax. It will be used for promotion, marketing and other initiatives to help businesses reopen.

“We are optimistic that DMVA can continue to truly lessen the burden on government as the local business community navigates through these unprecedented times,” Jen Grove, the organization’s executive director, wrote in a letter to Del Mar’s assistant city manager.

Del Mar City Council members unanimously approved the measure during their meeting on Monday, May 18, along with several other coronavirus-related actions. The council also approved an urgency ordinance that allows businesses to place more A-frame signs in public rights of way through the end of August.

Council members gave the city manager authority to cancel event reservations and issue refunds at city parks and facilities through July 31. Multiple events have already been rescheduled or refunded, according to a city staff report. There are still many events scheduled through June and July at Powerhouse Community Center, Winston School’s June graduation ceremony at City Hall and other events at city facilities, many of which would have more than 100 attendees.

Smaller events could still go on as scheduled, depending on public health guidelines. A motion by Councilman Dave Druker to cancel all events through the end of July failed 3-2, with Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland also in the minority vote.

Public meetings in Del Mar will remain canceled through the end of June, with the exceptions of the City Council, Design Review Board, Planning Commission, Finance Committee and a housing task force that was assembled earlier this year. All have been holding their meetings remotely.

The council decided against spending $6,000 for daily sanitization of street furniture. They said facilitating outdoor dining and other revenue-driving steps would be more important to local businesses as they begin expanding their operations and reopening.

“That would be more important to our businesses than spending city funds cleaning our street furniture more than we usually do,” Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland said.

Due to budgetary constraints, the city can’t offer a business loan program, according to city staff.

More businesses throughout the region are beginning a slow, gradual reopening process as state and county government leaders lift the public health guidelines that forced them to close. On Tuesday, May 19, the County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to send Gov. Gavin Newsom a request to allow the county to accelerate its plans to allow businesses including salons and restaurants to reopen.

In Del Mar, other measures the council has approved to support businesses include a commercial eviction moratorium, easing restrictions on signs, issue permits for curbside pickup and drive-through, and allowing payment plans for utility bills, according to city staff.

San Diego County surpassed 6,000 positive COVID-19 cases this week, including 222 deaths, 346 patients in intensive care and 1,136 total hospitalizations, according to county data. Del Mar has 13 cases, and there are 267 cases among the North County coastal cities.