Don’t let Del Mar decline because of fear of the unknown
Several residents have expressed concern about the Specific Plan’s proposed 26’ height limit on the west side of Camino Del Mar. We all need to start visualizing what this change will and will not look like. Many of you may not be aware that a number of our existing buildings are already over that limit and, surprisingly, are some of our most appealing buildings. Stratford Square (at 42’ well over the proposed height), Bill Davidson’s gas station property at the corner of 13th St and Camino del Mar (24’) and Cafe Secret, (26’) are all examples. Retaining the existing height limit, on the other hand, will continue to result in short square boxes that lack architectural appeal (see examples at right).
Please take a look at your favorite communities and you will note that their building heights are greater than single story.
In addition, limiting the building height to 14’ will impact our objective of stimulating investment in our downtown. Property owners won’t improve their properties because, very simply, they will have no economic incentive to do so. It will be impossible to achieve the size (FAR) needed for investment to make sense with a single story. We will have spent a great deal of time and money on a plan that will change nothing.
Only through changing our existing regulations in a meaningful way can we encourage investment in our community. Let’s not watch Del Mar continue its inexorable decline because of our fear of the unknown! The outdoor patios are a great example of our taking a chance and having a wonderful outcome. Please support the Specific Plan so we can truly make our downtown our “living room.”