Del Mar council postpones vote on development agreement for 941 Camino Del Mar

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council postponed a decision on a mixed-use development at 941 Camino Del Mar.

During their July 11 meeting, council members unanimously decided to wait until next month to vote on a development agreement while they get more information about whether state law could make the project “by-right,” giving the city less oversight. The council is now scheduled to vote on the development agreement during its July 25 meeting.

“I’m not comfortable voting yes on an agreement with a 10-year deadline when there is a risk that the 941 property could gain by-right development seven years from now,” City Councilmember Terry Gaasterland said.

In seven years, the state’s sixth cycle housing element will conclude, and cities that don’t reach their assigned number of new housing units are forced to make certain developments by-right as a way of streamlining new construction. It was unclear to council members and city staff if that could potentially apply to the Camino Del Mar project.

“This is a small glitch in the road I hope, but nobody should panic,” Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said.

The proposed development started in 2016, when Kitchell Development submitted a plan to build eight housing units, including two for low-income tenants, and more than 4,000 square feet of commercial space. The development is two stories and the total size is nearly 40,000 square feet.

In 2018, the City Council approved the project in a 4-1 vote, and months later about 80% of Del Mar voters approved a ballot measure to codify the zoning for the development.

“The documents provide the city the option to purchase the two affordable units,” Don Gatthorn, a consultant for the developer, said during the council meeting. “While this option was not contemplated in the original specific plan, it has been added here at the request of city staff. We believe that is a win-win and a good example of our mutual cooperation and efforts to be good partners.”

Public benefits that the developer is providing include a contribution of $35,000 toward the completion of the Camino Del Mar Streetscape Project, $50,000 toward the Shores Park Master Plan Project, and other monetary contributions toward other city projects and services.

The final building design will also include solar/photovoltaic paneling to reduce or offset development energy use, according to a city staff report, and there will be undergrounding of utility poles that are next to the site.