Del Mar appoints new planning commissioners


By Claire Harlin

The Del Mar City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 24 to bring attorney Sam Blick and his decades of civic government experience to the Planning Commission. Mark Corcoran, who vied for a spot on the commission last year, won three votes from the council, earning him a seat as well.

The terms of commissioners John Kerridge and Robin Nordhoff expired in June, however, the City Council requested — and both members agreed — to extend their terms until the commission finished its review of the draft Village Specific Plan (VSP), which will be put into effect if voters approve it in November. At that point, the Planning Commission will play an important role in overseeing the implementation of revitalization efforts and perform reviews throughout the process.

Blick, a Del Mar resident since 2008, is an attorney and founding partner of his Rancho Santa Fe firm that specializes in land use, real estate development, community interest developments, and golf course development. Blick started early in civic involvement when, at the age of 23, he became the assistant city attorney of Chula Vista (which advised that community’s planning commission).

When it comes to the VSP, he said he’s read it and “it’s good.”

Corcoran, who has a master’s degree in city planning, works as a planning consultant for the City of San Diego, and is responsible for writing staff reports like those that get considered by city councils. He also served in the U.S. Navy.

When it comes to the VSP, he said he brings complete objectivity to the table.

Jeffrey Barnouw, who has owned a home in Del Mar since 1970 but started living here full time after retiring from his 25-year post as an English and literature professor at the University of Texas at Austin, also sought a position on the commission. He’s on the board of the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley and volunteers on the trails, as well as heads a coalition to prevent the construction of a retirement home on the San Diego Polo Club property.

He’s also on the City of Del Mar Lagoon Committee and the Del Mar Village Association History Committee, and he’s a member of the Del Mar Historical Society.

In regard to the city’s future, he said he’s “concerned with the way Del Mar is developing.”

The council also gave consideration to Michael Uy, whose celebrity surfing dog and Guinness record-holder, Abbie, has been surfing in Del Mar for years before Uy made the move here a few months ago. He said he is passionate about the town, and the city’s plans to revitalize were a motivating factor in him coming here.