Revitalization: Honoring our past, ensuring our future


By Crystal Crawford

Mayor of Del Mar

Cities throughout the country are adopting systematic programs for revitalization using creative planning tools. In Del Mar, the community has been considering downtown revitalization since before I joined the Council (in November 1998) and has conducted several workshops and studies. But it seems more is needed to encourage investment in our aging village center and to attract thriving businesses. One can’t help but notice the increased number of storefront vacancies and the predominance of office uses where retail once thrived.

Our Community Plan envisioned a vibrant downtown that is both resident serving and economically viable in order to ensure the sustainability of our village. At the City Council’s meeting on Jan. 12, following a joint workshop with the Finance Committee regarding downtown revitalization options, the City Council will consider taking a major step toward creating an implementable action plan. The Planning Department, with the leadership of Brian Mooney, will propose developing a new, expanded - to include connections between downtown and other activity centers in the north beach area, at the Fairgrounds and at major hotels - Master Plan for the village core taking advantage of previous studies in order to present implementable strategies. It is designed with the goals and objectives of SANDAG’s smart growth plan in mind, which could provide regional funding opportunities to Del Mar.

At this meeting, City staff will be proposing the preparation of a Specific Plan and Form Based Codes. The Form Based Codes being proposed will provide clear design guidelines that retain the village character in the Community Plan and address critical issues such as traffic, bicycle and pedestrian circulation, parking, view corridors, green building, and housing in the downtown area. This will replace current zoning applied in the village area and the need for Measure B for larger projects (e.g. the Gas Station property). The Finance Committee will be presenting additional revitalization options for Council consideration.

As we celebrate our past with our upcoming 50th anniversary in 2009 and look toward our future, it is essential that we work toward implementing a downtown revitalization program that reflects the uniqueness of our community and recognizes the need for economic sustainability. Please join the City Council for this discussion on Jan. 12 at the TV Station or tune in to Channel 24. Please e-mail me at

with questions or comments. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year!