Del Mar opponents of North Commercial upzone say they have enough signatures for referendum

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar residents seeking to overturn a recent zoning change by the City Council say they have enough signatures to force a referendum.

The Del Mar city clerk and county officials have 30 days to verify the signatures and certify the petition. At least 345 valid signatures are needed.

In October, the council voted 3-2 to allow 20 residential units per acre on the city’s North Commercial parcels, an upzone that the city committed to as part of the state’s fifth cycle Regional Housing Needs Allocation. City staff has warned council members of potential consequences, including loss of local control over zoning decisions or a lawsuit from the state attorney general, if that zoning change isn’t made as part of Del Mar’s plan to meet its state-mandated housing goals.

But opponents of the new North Commercial zoning change, including Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland and City Councilman Dave Druker, want the city to pursue alternative options that they think would be more consistent with the character of Del Mar.

Two of the three council members who voted for the North Commercial upzone, Mayor Ellie Haviland and City Councilwoman Sherryl Parks, did not seek reelection and will be replaced next month by two newcomers who opposed the upzone.

City Councilman Dwight Worden wrote an open letter to Councilwoman-elect Tracy Martinez, the leading vote-getter in the three-seat, at-large council race, urging her to oppose the referendum. Martinez said previously in an interview that she supports it.

If the petition to repeal the North Commercial zoning change is certified, the City Council can vote to adopt the repeal, or let the residents vote in a special election.