Council votes to scale back safety center

Plans for the 17th Street Safety Center will be scaled back to bring the project within a more achievable price tag - between $2.3 million and $2.7 million, well below the original estimate of

$5 million to $5.5 million.

The primary structure of the lifeguard tower is not going to change much except for roof, window and other building materials.

“We looked at areas that would not affect functionality,” said Howard Gad, a resident who helped identify the cost-saving measures. “We felt we could do a tasteful building for a lot less.”

Several auxiliary elements of the project will be removed, including the drainage ditch improvements and all-weather beach access ramp, which can be pursued later.

The Friends of the Powerhouse contributed $15,750 toward the $24,500 required for Allard Jansen Architects to make the modifications to the architectural and engineering drawings. The City Council agreed to cover the difference of $8,750.

Since 2003, the Friends of the Powerhouse have raised about $150,000. That amount, combined with grants, brings the total funds secured for the facility to more than $700,000.

“Once we get the redesigned plans, I think that will enable us to much a more quicker and bigger fundraising push,” said Lifeguard Chief Pat Vergne.

The 2nd annual Party for the Park will be held Sunday, April 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring a barbecue lunch, arts and crafts, and children’s concert by Hullabaloo.

Supporters can paint a tile or buy a brick to be installed in the new lifeguard tower. Tiles are $40 for one, $75 for two, $100 for three and $130 for four. A larger “family size” tile can be purchased for $150. Bricks are $250 each. T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats will also be for sale. All proceeds go towards the new lifeguard tower.

For more information, go to

Sewer, water rate hearing set

A hearing on sewer and water rate fees will be held March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Del Mar Communications Center. A presentation will be made to the City Council and public about the Water, Utility and Sewer Rates Advisory Committee’s work on an updated five-year rate schedule. The current schedule expires on June 30.

This is the first of a series of informational workshops and any increases will be subject to a citywide mail ballot.

Signs approved

Del Mar City Council approved five new signs to help visitors navigate the Village and encourage people to walk farther south along Camino Del Mar.

The signs, donated to the city by the Del Mar Village Association, will be installed before peak tourist season this summer near Powerhouse Park, the Plaza, Americana, Bully’s and City Hall. Larger vehicular signs proposed earlier are being reevaluated.

Panel forms to look at new codes

The City Council appointed nine members a new committee that will oversee the process of creating new regulations for encouraging redevelopment and walkability in the Village.

It’s called Ad Hoc Form Based Code Advisory Committee.

The members are Phil Blair, Albert Corti, Dennis Cruzan, Wayne Dernetz, Rick Ehrenfeld, Howard Gad, Nancy Sanquist, Dwight Worden and Holly Schofield-McGoldrick. All are residents except for Schofield-McGoldrick, who has experience in engineering, zoning, land use, traffic and parking.

Deputy Mayor Richard Earnest and Councilman Carl Hilliard were appointed as the two council liaisons to the committee, which will spend a significant amount of time in the next six to eight months working on this project.

Noticeably absent from the committee is a Village business owner and a commercial property owner. Earnest said as much as he and others tried to coax these important stakeholders to join, although they declined because of the time commitment.

However, Earnest said many promised to participate throughout the process, just not at the committee level.