Don’t relegate downtown to another 30 years of stagnation
The Village Specific Plan is designed to encourage re-development of downtown Del Mar, especially the south side of town which is under-utilized and, in many cases, is an eyesore and about as pedestrian friendly as the bluffs below the train tracks. It is time to make some changes which will improve the south side of downtown similar to the areas on 15th Street, which both the proponents and opponents all think is the right size and scale and ambiance.
Opponents of Prop J argue it will allow too much density in downtown. I see it as just a 28 percent increase over what is allowed today, which seems reasonable, especially in light of the fact that the current zoning has produced stagnation. This 28 percent increase equates to approximately 150,000 sq. ft. in total, which is spread over 16 blocks over a 30-year period. Furthermore, this is a maximum, which means it will probably never be built to that extent. Even if all 150,000 sq. ft. of this additional density occurred between 9th and 14th Streets along both sides of Camino del Mar, which counting both sides of the street is a 10 block stretch, I do not see it as an overbuilt situation but a welcome one.
Over two years, the city carefully analyzed impacts and struck a healthy balance between revitalization and preservation. That’s why the plan was approved unanimously by the City Council and Planning Commission. The City Council approved the VSP with comfort knowing that this build-out can only occur after strengthened Design Review Board approval of each project and a periodic review of impacts by the City Council.
Prop J finally gives us a chance to achieve the Community Plan’s long-promised goal of a resident-serving, pedestrian-friendly downtown. Don’t let the usual nay-sayers relegate downtown to another 30 years of stagnation.