Will the Village Specific Plan redevelop Del Mar?


Let’s take a look. What’s the most developable property in town? Probably the vacant lot at the southeast corner of 13th Street, located diagonally across from the library. The Del Mar Village Specific Plan (VSP), if passed, will provide increased height limits and an increased floor area ratio . . . and if the property owner is willing to give all the parking to the City as public parking, the VSP will allow SANDAG parking standards.

So is that enough incentive to develop this vacant lot? The issue is parking. City records show that this property is burdened by two off-site parking easements: 18 off-site spaces for Sbicca and seven off-site spaces for Board & Brew . . . plus another 10 on-site spaces for the 3,131-square-foot building housing Prudential Real Estate. Give that there’s only 25 total parking spaces on the property, this property is currently seven spaces short of compliance with Del Mar’s parking ordinance.

If redeveloped, this property could probably have a 40-car underground parking garage accessed from the alley, with a building site above. Since 25 spaces are already committed for off-site restaurants, it can’t qualify for SANDAG parking standards, and only 15 of the 40 spaces could count towards the parking inventory of the new building.

It’s doubtful that any developer could justify spending millions of dollars for major excavation, a new 40-car parking garage and a new 4,500-square-foot building to replace the existing 3,131-square-foot building. Thus, the VSP provides no solution for development of this beautiful corner lot.

Half the downtown is in the same situation: either the properties have been enriched far beyond their ability to provide parking for the uses which the City has already granted to them, or else they’ve been encumbered by Covenants and recordings that prevent their re-development . . . and the VSP, if passed in November, will provide no solution.

If I’m missing something here, I invite Del Mar’s Planning Department to explain it.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar