Working toward the future
BY CRYSTAL CRAWFORD
Mayor, Del Mar
The Ad Hoc Form Based Code Committee, established by the City Council earlier this year, is now hard at work evaluating how the use of these new codes might be applied in Del Mar and how they would affect the current efforts to revitalize the downtown areas. Form based codes, if ultimately approved and adopted, are a planning tool that can be used to guide redevelopment of the city’s commercial downtown village consistent with the goals and objectives already identified in Del Mar’s Community Plan.
These codes are a relatively new approach to zoning that allows cities to master plan commercial districts based on the physical forms desired for the buildings, pedestrian corridors, street systems and streetscapes. The codes can be designed with various factors such as view protection, noise and traffic in mind, while replacing more typical zoning codes that are based on formulas relating to setbacks, heights and floor area ratios. In Del Mar’s case, the use of the more traditional zoning code formulas has not resulted in the dynamic commercial village originally envisioned by our Community Plan.
The planning program for the form based code review began in early May and will conclude with public hearings at the Planning Commission and City Council meetings in June and July. The next several months will be filled with community meetings, including design workshops with the Form Based Code Committee, Community Conversations in the neighborhoods of Del Mar, and a three-day design Charrette and Open House. The results of the Charrette will then be reviewed with the Planning Commission and Design Review Board before being presented to the City Council.
The Ad Hoc Committee’s preliminary work, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of October, has included gathering baseline data regarding every individual parcel and building in Del Mar’s commercial zones. The data includes in-depth information on land use, traffic, bicycle and pedestrian circulation, streetscapes, public spaces, parking, view corridors, sustainability issues, architecture and economic impacts, all of which will be used to better plan our downtown for the future.
I encourage you to participate by attending community meetings over the next four months. Information regarding the meeting schedule can be found on the city’s Web site under “Form Based Code.” The Ad Hoc Committee meetings are being televised and archived. You can watch the meetings via webcast and review other materials explaining what form based codes are and how they work on the same Web page.
I look forward to seeing you at one of the several meetings being scheduled to discuss this very important topic - our city’s future. Please join in and help us plan it. You can e-mail me any time for more information or to provide comments at ccrawford@