Will your property rights be stolen next?

On June 18, the Del Mar City Council received the Village Specific Plan (VSP) and listened to the staff’s report. That report was woefully incomplete. Did you know that the proposed VSP intends to coerce private property owners to surrender their land for public use?

We all understand that parking can be a challenge in Del Mar, but this proposal is an affront to rights we hold dear as Americans.

Back in 1967, the City required restaurants to provide one parking space per 90 square feet of inside restaurant space. There were only three restaurants then. Today, according to the Del Mar Village Association website, there are 26. The City doesn’t require any of them to comply with the City’s very difficult parking ordinance except for one: my property at 1201 Camino del Mar.

For many years the City has singled out 1201 Camino del Mar for enforcement of parking standards while failing to enforce these parking standards against any other property. My commercial property is by far the best-parked building in town. The City refuses to allow me to lease 25 percent of my building, however, because the City wants to convert my private parking into a public parking lot. That’s what the VSP’s proposed parking element is all about.

Three years ago the City published a study, which singled out 1201 Camino del Mar with the statement:

“It appears that the existing underground parking could possibly be integrated into any future underground parking schemes located to the north of the site, creating a “shared use” parking scenario for the entire block.”

Basically, the City is saying that 1201 Camino del Mar has enough parking for the whole town, but not enough for its own lease space.

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if the City will single out me and my property, they can single out any resident or property owner in Del Mar. This is a serious over-reach of the government.

Del Mar must establish reasonable parking standards without requiring commercial property owners to convert their private parking into the public parking lots.

This “give us your parking” strategy will never re-develop Del Mar. If the VSP parking proposal goes through, it will be impossible for a developer to obtain a construction loan on a property because it will be gutted of its property rights and left with the obligation to pay the property taxes, maintenance and insurance on a public parking garage.

The VSP is just a not-so-veiled attempt to convert 80 percent of my property into a public parking garage. The answer is “NO!” I will not donate $2 million of my property’s value to the City in return for the right to collect rent.

It is wrong to have a parking ordinance that does not apply to everyone equally. I ask the City to establish reasonable parking standards and enforce their parking ordinance in a uniform manner. If the City of Del Mar can take my property, they can take yours, too.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar