City’s hard work demonstrates a ‘can do’ attitude

By Linda Rock

Resident, Del Mar

As a business consultant to small businesses, I am fortunate to work with bright entrepreneurs who surmount obstacles on a daily basis to build successful businesses. What they all share in common is their “can do” attitude. In contrast, government and large corporations can become bureaucratic and resistant to change.

Happily, however, our current Del Mar City Council, city manager, staff and community are demonstrating their “can do” attitude, working hard to enhance Del Mar through, among other things, carefully developing a Form Based Code (FBC) option. The FBC committee has been in public meetings now for a year, honing the FBC to fit our unique community. Because we own a property in the central commercial zone and are also residents of Del Mar, I have followed the process closely.

What is emerging from this process is an approach that I believe will provide appropriate incentives to encourage redevelopment within the downtown, while still providing safeguards for view protection, adequate parking and public benefits such as open space and the preservation of historically important buildings.

I am impressed by the ad hoc FBC committee’s talent, thoughtfulness and willingness to tackle the daunting challenge of developing a comprehensive alternative to the existing downtown zoning code. It is easy to come up with reasons why it won’t work.

The economics of redevelopment can be a challenge. But we have seen successful redevelopment along the coast in Encinitas and on Cedros in Solana Beach. While these models are not an exact fit for Del Mar, they are indicators that revitalization can be accomplished.

Almost everyone with whom I have spoken acknowledges the economically unviable state of our downtown. There has been little redevelopment or investment in downtown in more than 20 years. Clearly, something is not working. Rather than find reasons not to move forward, let’s find solutions for the obstacles that we face and dare to move forward. I think the cheerful ambience created by the much-feared outdoor cafes attests to the positive impact change can bring!


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