Del Mar council approves development agreement for 941 Camino Del Mar

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council approved a development agreement for a mixed-use project at 941 Camino Del Mar during a July 25 meeting.

Council members were set to approve the development agreement during their previous meeting on July 11 before questions arose about whether the property could become “by-right,” which reduces city oversight, if it wasn’t built within a certain timeframe.

“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 during the July 11 meeting.

The state’s sixth cycle housing element will conclude in seven years, and cities that don’t reach their assigned number of new housing units are forced to make certain developments by-right to expedite new construction.

It was unclear to council members and city staff if the 941 Camino Del Mar project could potentially convert to by-right.

According to a city staff report, city officials determined after a meeting with Barbara Kautz, Del Mar’s special counsel on housing policy, that there was no risk of the property becoming by-right. The only possibility of the site becoming by-right would be if the two affordable units that are part of the development are not constructed during the sixth cycle housing element timeframe and if the site was designated for housing by the city in the next housing element cycle.

“In short, the City will have control over whether or not to designate this site for future housing in the 7th Cycle, should the development of the property be delayed into the 7th Cycle planning period,” the city staff report read.

In 2016, developer Kitchell Development proposed a two-story, 40,000-square-foot project with eight housing units, including two affordable units, as well as 4,000 square feet of commercial space.

Two years later, the City Council voted 4-1 to approve the project, and later that year about 80% of Del Mar voters approved a ballot measure to establish the zoning for the development.

Public benefits that the developer is providing include $35,000 toward the completion of the Camino Del Mar Streetscape Project, $50,000 to 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.