Proposition J: The Planning Department wasn’t listening

Numerous meetings held with Del Mar residents concluded that:

(1) The downtown has no vitality.

(2) Residents don’t like what has been built.

(3) Residents want better quality commercial . . . not more of it.

(4) Downtown Del Mar has a parking problem.

Del Mar’s commercial district is mostly non-descript old buildings that were given back-door permits for uses way beyond their ability to provide parking for those uses. The City’s current parking problem is empirical proof that this happened.

The City’s planning and design review process has created beautiful residential properties, but that same process failed in developing the downtown. Why did it fail? Overly restrictive parking standards and no code-enforcement created the current situation; and Proposition J, which proposes to concentrate even more discretionary power in the Planning Department, will not correct it.

A Village Specific Plan that requires commercial property owners to convert their private parking into public parking . . . in return for reasonable parking standards . . . will not incentivize the re-development of Del Mar. The parking requirements for “Privately Owned Properties” (page VII-14 of the Parking Element of the Village Specific Plan) states:

(a) Require all new development to construct the required parking as “public parking” when utilizing the ‘Park-Once’ parking standards.

(b) Require that the current DMMC land use specific parking ratios be applied to developments where parking is not made available to the general public through the ‘Park-Once’ approach.

(c) Require existing development to open private parking to the public when applying the ‘Park-Once’ parking standards for intensification or change of use.

I encourage you to read Amendments 10 and 14 to the Constitution, which prevents public taking of private property rights. Is “PROP J” extortion?

I’m in favor of revitalization. Currently my building is the only commercial property in Del Mar being revitalized. It can be the poster-child for Del Mar’s revitalization. But if it continues to sit vacant for another four years while the City bargains for my parking garage, it will become a symbol of Del Mar’s failed planning process.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar