Proposed development standards a concern

By Mark Stuckelman

I recently attended a Del Mar City Council meeting where the planning director made a presentation on the development standards that are being proposed for the Village Specific Plan. I am deeply concerned about what I heard.

The Specific Plan will change zoning to allow the construction of 30-foot high buildings on the west side of Camino del Mar, versus the current 14-foot limit. These taller buildings will block sunlight, ocean breezes and views. A 30-foot high row of buildings separating downtown from the ocean would also create a tunnel feeling while walking through the Village.

The Specific Plan also calls for increasing allowable Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to 150 percent. This will result in massive buildings over three times larger than what currently exists. The added congestion from 140 new apartments, 43 additional hotel rooms and a near tripling of retail and restaurant space will dramatically increase noise, air pollution and ocean runoff. This is not appropriate in a fragile coastal environment.

The City Council has stated on numerous occasions that the Specific Plan must include strong measures to protect the character of Del Mar. Yet the proposed changes will fundamentally change the character of Del Mar and have a very negative impact on the quality of life for Del Mar residents. Del Mar is a special city. It is not worth destroying what we have in search of increased economic vitality.

I’m supportive of revitalizing downtown. However, it needs to be done in a sensible way that maintains the character of Del Mar and protects our environment. I would like to hear from anyone who shares my concerns. Please email me at