More ways to enjoy the great outdoors

By Crystal Crawford

Mayor, Del Mar

For the past several years, the City Council has been working with the Del Mar Village Association and others in the community to revitalize our downtown area. We have sponsored events, contributed funds for sprucing up the streets and made changes to our development regulations to foster business improvements.

One such change is a new ordinance allowing outdoor cafes to be installed on city sidewalks. The new ordinance recognizes that outdoor cafes generate more pedestrian activity and can bring vitality to commercial areas.

In crafting the ordinance, we wanted to ensure that any new sidewalk cafes would enhance our community and add to rather than detract from the character of the downtown. So the new ordinance includes measures to address safety, noise and aesthetics, and established a fee for the commercial use of the public right-of-way. Any fees collected are to be used for improvements in the downtown area.

Although our revitalization efforts now face challenging economic times, several property owners and restaurateurs have already come forth with plans to install sidewalk cafes and other streetscape improvements along the south side of 15th Street. The investment by the property owners and businesses in this area will include new street trees, public benches and an enhanced pavement to replace the existing sidewalk’s mix of materials.

The City Council recently approved applications for sidewalk cafes at Americana Cafe, Jimmy O’s and the recently renovated Del Mar Pizza. We anticipate an application from Sbicca’s Restaurant very soon.

These proposals are the result of a collaborative process between the owners, the business operators and the city. Detailed design work is being completed for the sidewalk cafes, and we expect to see the improvements in place by summer. I look forward to dining al fresco in these new outdoor cafes and hope to see you there as well.