New State law impacts Proposition J — and the future of Del Mar


The Village Specific Plan that was approved by the City Council and the Del Mar Village Association after two years of public meetings and long hours of committee work is neither responsive to the needs of the City’s residents, nor does it respect the vital role of the residents’ participation in critical development for our City.

If Proposition J passes, we, the residents of Del Mar, will lose vital rights under Measure B to final approval of large-scale developments within the City.

Measure B [adopted by the voters in 1986] requires specific plans for properties in the downtown commercial area larger than 25,000 square feet or proposing more than 11,500 square feet of development to be approved by the voters.

The City Attorney’s impartial analysis of Proposition J in the Specific Plan states:

“[If Proposition J is] approved by the voters, no separate specific plan or further Measure B vote will be required for developments that are designed, reviewed and implemented in accordance with the Specific Plan.”

What this means for you, and why you should be wary of ceding control over development in our City to developers, is that the new State law passed in 2008, Government Code Section 65915-65918, allows developers to increase the density of commercial and residential development by up to 35 percent over the caps in our local zoning limits if they agree to build certain levels of low, very low and moderate income housing.

This State law is also identified as the “Density Bonus and Incentive Plan”for developers. It was written as an incentive to developers to build projects for low-cost housing and is being used by developers to increase the size of projects beyond local restrictions as it appears in this instance. The City of Los Angeles is already experiencing problems with this Density Bonus Plan. This incentive plan for developers may well cause problems throughout California.

In other words, if the Village Specific Plan (Proposition J) is adopted on Nov. 6, it will give the right to developers to build above and beyond what is stipulated in the Specific Plan. The daily lives of residents will be most affected by this development, and no longer have any voice in the City.

Measure B governs the “last word” for residents. These are hard-fought rights won by residents over the last 50 years, i.e., the 1976 General Plan lays out the City codes we all abide by that enhanced property values in the City, and Measure B that enables our ability to halt the over-development that promises to bring those property values back down again.

Since property taxes are the main source of revenue for the City and retail business downtown contributes little to the tax base, and better ways of satisfying State mandates for affordable housing, a “No” vote to avoid rapid overcrowding as well as additional heavy traffic and parking woes that will ultimately become extremely costly for the city would be wise.

If this concerns you and if you would like to help me inform residents before absentee ballots are sent out, please call me or e-mail me at, or 858-755-2294 — I need help.

Sharon Feierabend

Del Mar