Objective and reasonable parking standards needed in Del Mar

Note: The following speech was read at last week’s Del Mar City Council meeting and submitted to this newspaper as a letter to the editor for publication.

If you’re on the freeway driving to Los Angeles and the sign says Tijuana . . . you have to acknowledge your mistake and turn around. Otherwise you end up in Tijuana.

In 1967, the City of Del Mar passed an impossible parking ordinance, which created substandard development and a parking problem for the downtown. Today a back alley along the railroad tracks in Solana Beach is a more desirable retail location.

Your parking ordinance vested tremendous power in the Planning Department . . . and they used their “subjective discretion” to choose which properties to enrich. Development in Del Mar hasn’t been about land planning, it’s been about politics.

If you want developers to invest their money here, you’ll have to replace “subjective discretion” with objective and reasonable parking standards.

I’ve pursued this parking issue in court for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I was not well represented. I’ve recently corrected that shortcoming by hiring two sets of lawyers. I hired Matthew Peterson to find a negotiated solution with the Mrs. Garcia . . . and two lawyers from Irvine for the litigation.

These Irvine gentlemen have many years of experience in municipal law, and they’re brutally honest. They counseled me that a selective enforcement lawsuit is an uphill battle, since it usually involves discrimination against a protected class.

However, a lawsuit requiring the City to enforce the parking ordinance . . . that’s a slam-dunk. Del Mar is not an independent nation. It’s a municipality governed by the rules of California . . . and you haven’t followed the rules.

If you don’t change your parking ordinance, you will eventually be required to enforce it.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar