2013 in Del Mar: A year in review

By Kristina Houck

Plans for new City Hall move forward

The city held a community workshop on Dec. 2 to gather input from citizens on how to replace Del Mar’s current facilities at 1050 Camino Del Mar. The roughly 40 residents who attended the workshop agreed that Del Mar needs a new City Hall and that it should be constructed in the same location as the current facility.

The City Council on Dec. 9 discussed issuing a survey so all members of the public could have an opportunity to weigh in on what amenities a new civic center should offer, where offices should be located and how the project should be financed.

City establishes pension reserve fund

Facing a shortfall of more than $9 million in its pension fund, Del Mar paid off a $3 million side fund pension liability using the city’s general fund and water fund reserves. In addition, the City Council on Sept. 3 unanimously established a pension reserve fund as a new pillar in the city budget process. The fund will set aside money to eliminate the city’s unfunded pension liability over 15 years.

City Council appoints Lee Haydu as mayor

In a unanimous vote, council members on Dec. 9 appointed Councilwoman Lee Haydu as the city’s new mayor and Councilman Al Corti as deputy mayor. Having served as deputy mayor throughout the last year, Haydu replaced former Mayor Terry Sinnott.

City aims to improve law enforcement services

The Del Mar City Council on Nov. 18 decided not to establish its own department, but try to improve the services the city receives from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement services under contract with nine cities in the county. Although the council in January renewed a five-year contract with the department, Del Mar hired a consultant to review the city’s contract, compare the city’s law enforcement costs to other cities, and evaluate other law enforcement alternatives, such as creating a stand-alone police department.

Watermark Del Mar gets mixed reviews

Community members gathered July 29 at the Powerhouse Community Center to learn about a proposed housing project in Del Mar. The one- and two-story multi-unit project called Watermark Del Mar would be constructed at the vacant property southwest of the intersection of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Road.

The design concept for Watermark Del Mar features 54 one- to four-bedroom apartments and townhomes on the 2.3-acre site. Plans include seven affordable housing units, four of which would be deeded at no cost to Del Mar Community Connections, a local volunteer organization.

A group of community members gathered in opposition of the project Nov. 7 at the Parish Hall in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Council amends Garden Del Mar site plan

Because Kitchell Development Company acquired a purchase option on the Garden Del Mar property and requested to convert approved office spaces to residences, the council was asked to decide whether the change would be a minor or major amendment to the site plan.

Del Mar voters approved a specific plan for the property five years ago. A minor amendment would require a four-fifths vote by the council. A major amendment would require approval by both the council and Del Mar voters.

After reconvening the steering committee that worked on the specific plan, the council on Dec. 9 voted 4-1 that the change is a minor amendment. City staff is currently preparing a survey for residents, so they can weigh in on the amendment.

Del Mar named a California Main Street community

The Del Mar Village Association was designated a California Main Street community by the California Main Street Alliance Nov. 5 at L’Auberge Del Mar. CAMSA gives this award to cities, towns and neighborhoods that have reinvigorated the economic health of their historic Main Street central business districts.

City to begin master plan process for Shores property

More than six years after deciding to purchase Del Mar Shores Park, the Del Mar City Council is moving forward with a plan for the site. In a 3-2 vote, council members on Nov. 18 directed staff to issue a request for proposals and hire a consultant to produce a park master plan.

Del Mar gains, then loses new fire chief

After two months on the job, Encinitas Fire Chief Jon Canavan resigned. In addition to the department’s six stations, the chief provides operational oversight for emergency services in the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. Canavan had previously served as the Poway Fire Department division chief. He returned to Poway as its fire marshal. Mike Deigle, the department’s deputy chief, is currently serving as interim chief.

Del Mar native has talent

Taylor Williamson, a Del Mar native and graduate of Torrey Pines High School, placed second on the NBC competition series “America’s Got Talent.” The 27-year-old comedian survived a variety of elimination shows and made it all the way to the show’s season finale, where he performed one final comedy act alongside “Inside the Actor’s Studio” host James Lipton.