Town Hall Set Up for the Inaugural Concert
The new Town Hall, set up for the Del Mar Foundation's Inaugural Concert

Del Mar Updat
e from Dwight Worden - August 2018

Hello friends! Here is my August 2018 update as your Mayor.  welcome your feedback! Please feel free to share this with your Del Mar friends and neighbors.

~ Dwight 
Dwight's Office Hours
August: CANCELLED due to medical appointment  

Next Up:  Friday, September 7, 2018
Time:  9:30 am-11:30 am
No appointment necessary; drop in and let's talk!

Location:
 Del Mar Community Building, 225 9th St., Del Mar

Can't make it, but have something to say?
Email me at: dwight@dwightworden.com

Happy Summer!
As your Mayor, I hope you are enjoying your Del Mar summer. We live in paradise, and have much to appreciate along with some challenges to face. I look forward to working with you to move our small city forward.

Updates: Lots Happening, Lots Accomplished

New Civic Center Open!
After decades of planning, discussion,and false starts, the City of Del Mar officially dedicated the opening of our new Del Mar Civic Center on June 30. On time and on budget, the project was completed with no new taxes. If you haven't visited the new Civic Center, I encourage you to do so. If you'd like a personal tour, drop me an email and I'll be glad to give you one. 

Del Mar Farmers Market The Farmers Market has returned to the Civic Center, with vendors on the outdoor parking space as well as on the north end of the beautiful plaza. Please go by and welcome the Farmers Market to its beautiful new digs:  Saturdays 1-4pm.

Among other cool aspects, the new Town Hall (where council and other city boards and committees meet) is convertible to a beautiful 200-seat concert/performance space with a state of the art sound system. The inaugural concert in this great space was held July 26, 2018, sponsored by the Del Mar Foundation. The Town Hall will not be used for private events such as weddings; rather, look for community events and activities sponsored by Del Mar nonprofits, such as DMF Talks and cultural arts performances, and the DMCC Gala (coming in October).

So many people supported the Civic Center project, for which we are all very grateful. A special thanks goes to the Del Mar Foundation for its gift of $125,000 which allowed the addition of key community amenities to the project. The  Civic Center has been nominated for an architectural "Orchid" award.  Click here to submit a comment and help us win the award. 

Inaugural Town Hall Concert July 26 2018
With the glass wall between Town Hall and the Breezeway opened up, Town Hall can seat 200 people for a musical performance, as shown in the photo at the top of this email. The photo collage above shows scenes from the Inaugural Town Hall Concert sponsored by the Del Mar Foundation: sound engineer Richard Burkett runs the state-of-the-art sound system; Eve Selis Band performs on our new stage; the crowd enjoys a wine and cheese reception on the plaza before the performance. Photos: Bill Morris

Street Improvements Completed - 4th St to CV
Improvements to CDM from 4th Street to Carmel Valley are complete. New pavement, new striping, new bike lane, new multi-purpose path (walking, strollers, kid bikes, etc.), better parking. Coming soon, intersection improvements at 4th and CDM adding double left turn lane going south to Del Mar Heights Rd. 

Streetscape Improvements for CDM Downtown Coming Soon
Bids came back higher than expected for Streetscape Phase 1 (improvements from 9th to 11th Streets--landscape, sidewalk, lighting, etc.). What we thought, based on engineers' estimates, was going to be about a $4 million project for all phases, now looks to be about a $7 million hit. Construction bids everywhere are coming in higher than predicted: at the fairgrounds, River Park JPA, and elsewhere. This is the reality of current construction costs. I am committed, and believe the full council is too, to implementing Streetscape notwithstanding the increased cost. It is too important to our town not to do, and the sooner the better as costs continue to rise. City staff will be coming back with a financing plan soon, and we may combine all phases and go for the full project at one time (avoiding construction in the summer visitor months) if that seems cost effective.  See the plans and learn about the Streetscape project here:  Streetscape.

941 Camino del Mar Approved by Council, Coming to Nov. B allot
941 Camino Del Mar
After extensive review, the 941 project at the old Garden (gas station) site at 10th and CDM was approved by the DRB, Planning Commission, and City Council. It includes a cafe, residential, and office uses. It will be on the November ballot for Del Mar voters to express their final view. See the plans and learn more here:   941

Measure B: Rest in peace!
Measure B (The Downtown Initiative) has been declared no longer enforceable due to a court ruling on a Malibu case. Measure B, adopted in the 1980s by the voters, required voter approval of specific plans for certain large projects in the downtown. Under Measure B, voters approved revised Plaza and Del Mar Hotel projects, defeated a downtown Specific Plan (Prop J), and approved the Garden Del Mar Plan. There are no other properties large enough in Del Mar's downtown to trigger Measure B's vote requirement, so it has done its job, and after 30 + years can rest in peace, having engaged voters to make Del Mar's major downtown projects better. Read the Sandpiper's Measure B "obit"  for the colorful history of this citizens' initiative.

Watermark
Watermark Del Mar
The Watermark project proposed at the corner of Jimmy Durante and San Dieguito Drive continues to undergo refinements and revisions. Current plans offer 37 residential units (down from 47), including 7 affordable units. Next up is release of the final EIR then on to DRB, Planning Commission, and City Council. Keep yourself informed, participate in the process, and let us know what you think of this project. See the current plans and learn more here: Watermark

North Bluff Resort In Early Review Stage
North Bluff Resort
A high end resort, with roughly 250 hotel rooms, 60+ residential villas, restaurants, cafe, public access, affordable housing, work force housing, public parking, a trail system, and more is proposed for the 16 acres located between Border Avenue, CDM, and the City's North Bluff Preserve. The project is still in the early stages, with a draft EIR expected soon. Key issues: traffic, access, impacts to the Scripps Preserve, view impacts, and density.  Keep an eye on this important project and let your views be known. That's what the review process is for, and I can promise I'm listening! Visit the project website, see the initial plans here: North Bluff Resort

Charter Amendment
Councilmember Haviland and I sponsored a proposed amendment to the Del Mar City charter. The Amendment will assure Del Mar has maximum local control over land use and zoning decisions in the face of ever greater State attempts to take over, while ensuring that the city acts consistently with its Community Plan even as councils come and go. It needs voter approval, so look for it on your November ballot, including arguments pro and con, and an impartial analysis by the City attorney.

Affordable Housing
Del Mar continues to focus on affordable housing options that are compatible with our community. Our 2013 Housing Element identifies some 60+ programs, many of which have been implemented or are being implemented - but since no affordable units have yet bee n created toward our State-mandated requirement, we're committed to bringing 22 units on line in 5 years. Strategies include accessory dwelling units (granny flats), use of  city owned property, joint projects with the Fairgrounds, rezoning, and other innovative strategies. The State requires that we meet state affordable housing goals. If not, Del Mar faces penalties, lawsuits, and potential loss of our zoning power. Yikes! Check out our newly released   "22 in 5" Report   - this report comprehensively inventories all options for affordable housing, including city-owned properties, Fairgrounds property, private developments, condominium conversions, re-zonings, and more. It's a deep dive, and lays out the options for the hard choices we'll need to make to meet our state-mandated obligations. And if you want an even deeper dive, check out the Housing Element here.

Police Force  
Options for Del Mar are: (1) Status quo--keep the current sheriff contract (2) Augment the Sheriff contract--adding Community Service Officers to achieve additional local service (3) Start our own Police Department. City staff and council representatives have been negotiating with the Sheriff and exploring that middle option of expanded sheriff services. We are expecting a final report from staff on all the options soon, and then it is decision time. This is an important decision, and we have studied it every way from Sunday. I think we are ready to make a decision. Let me know what you think.

Measure Q $$ 
Del Mar passed Measure Q in 2016 bringing an additional 1/2 cent local sales tax, paid primarily by tourists and visitors. Roughly $1.5-$2 million per year comes in. We are prioritizing Downtown Streetscape, Undergrounding of utility lines citywide, and Shores Park for use of these Q funds. All are moving forward and we expect a financing plan for use of the Q funds soon so that all can see how these funds will be used over time to bring these three important projects along.

Short Term Rentals
Our community remains divided on how to address Short Term Rentals (STRs). Many residents don't want any in the residential zones. Others, primarily those in the STR business, want to allow them unrestricted in the R zones. After 2 years of study, council adopted a middle ground: STRs unrestricted in the RC zone and in most commercial and visitor zones, plus 28 days per year in 7 day minimum stay increments in the R zones. In June the Coastal Commission disapproved the 7/28 plan and recommended a plan of 100 days per year, with a 3 day minimum stay in all R zones. The overwhelming majority of input council received, both from those opposing STRs and those supporting them, was to reject the Coastal Commission plan as either too strict or too liberal, depending on one's perspective. 

The city collected a lot of data from reliable sources before determining to endorse (4-1, Sinnott voting no) the 7/28 program, including data on how many STRs there are in Del Mar, their rates, their impact on neighborhoods and housing stock, and much more. In my opinion the council made a well thought out, balanced, decision with strong factual and legal support tailored  to  the  specifics of Del Mar. I know that protecting our residential neighborhoods as required by our voter-endorsed Community Plan is the right thing to do. 

Our current strategy is to challenge the Coastal Commission decision in court to protect the city's rights and to get a ruling on the key legal issue: Who has the right to regulate STRs by zoning--the City or the Coastal Commission? If we prevail, then it will be Del Mar that decides  on local STR rules. T his court action is the quickest and least expensive way to get the answer we need for the community to move on, and to finalize the best possible STR rules for Del Mar . While the court action  plays out (we look for a decision perhaps as soon as next Spring) we will continue to explore middle ground options with  the Commission. I am encouraged  by support from local residents  for our actions, including a commitment to fund raise  to help with litigation expenses.