Del Mar Update from Dwight Worden

Hello friends! Here is my November 2015 newsletter as your City Councilmember. I'll address a few topical issues for Del Mar in  each of these periodic newsletters, welcoming your feedback! Please feel free to share this with your Del Mar friends and neighbors.

In the photo collage above: The approved design for City Hall/Town hall; a big turnout for the Oct. 18 Shores Park "Plan Your Park" Workshop; the underutilized public plazas at the Del Mar Plaza, and the spectacular Del Mar beach.

Dwight's November Office Hours - Friday, November 6, - 9:30-11:30 am 

Stop in to chat--no appointment required.  Location: Del Mar Community Building, 225 9th St., Del Mar. Can't make it, but have something to say? Email me at:

Del Mar's New Civic Center Has An Approved Design!

After untold workshops, polls, open session discussions, much community feedback, and extended debates, Del Mar has coalesced on a design for the new civic center. Council gave unanimous approval on November 2 to a schematic design that was enthusiastically supported by members of the public, including prior critics. Wow--what happened? The simple answer is that the revised, approved design incorporates many improvements and changes requested by the community. 

Watch Mike Jobes' presentation on video to hear how Torrey Pines needles were the inspiration for the striking truss support in the Town Hall.
Gone is the boxy, institutional look. Architect Mike Jobes presented a revised design with a new and interesting roof design, flexible indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate a variety of uses, attractive materials and landscaped areas that incorporate Del Mar colors, textures and designs, multiple view overlooks, and convenient, attractive access, all put together at a more residential scale. The Council approved the design 5-0, and the assembled citizens gave it a round of applause. 

If you missed the architects' proposal, you can watch it here (click on Item 12 in the column at right to jump to the City Hall/Town Hal design presentation).
The Council-approved schematic design for the new Del Mar Civic Center

Next Steps. On November 16 it is anticipated that council will check the project for budget
Architect Mike Jobes walked us through the evolution of the civic center design, in Monday's presentation to council and the public.
adherence under the guidance of liaisons Mayor Al Corti and councilmember Don Mosier.  Next up, the DRB will get an informational update at its meeting of November 18, followed by a final session of the Community Participation Process (CPP) on November 19 at 6:30 pm on site. This CPP is a chance for interested neighbors a
nd others to meet on site with the project team to review and discuss the plans. Story poles will then go up in preparation for the DRB's formal review on December 16. Running in parallel will be the completion of the EIR process. Absent hiccups, it should all come together at Council's January 4, 2016 meeting for EIR certification and final project entitlement approvals. Then, it's working drawings and start of construction.

This is your civic center, so participate in the review process, write me an email, call me on the phone at (858)481-2609, send a pigeon--whatever. There are lots of details and project components to consider in getting from schematic design to working drawings and we welcome your input, so let us know what you think.

Learn More. To learn more about the process and the project, visit the 

DRB Development Review Ad Hoc Committee Making Progress 
Attend and share your perspective on Nov. 17th.

What started out amid conflict and controversy seems to be settling in to a productive work process and schedule. The Ad Hoc Committee has adopted a detailed workplan, which the Council reviewed and approved; received a detailed briefing from city staff on staff's perspective on DRB and development-related issues (session 2 of the staff input is scheduled for the next meeting), held a joint meeting with the DRB to receive its input, held an open meeting to hear input from developers, architects, and other professionals who interact with the DRB process, and most recently, held a session to receive input from those with experience as applicants in the DRB process. Phew! that's a lot of ground covered in a few short months. Community participation has been good at all sessions, with structured but informal dialogue among committee members and a participatory audience. Much has been learned--I'll vouch for that as one of the council liaisons who attends all the meetings! 

Next Up: A session to receive input and hear experiences from neighbors and those who have participated in the DRB process other than as applicants. That meeting will be held Nov.17 at 6 pm at City Hall--check to see if it will be in the council chambers or the Annex as that has yet to be determined.

Public Spaces, Part 2: The Del Mar Plaza
One of a series of reports on public and quasi-public spaces in Del Mar, and how residents and the community can better use them.

The voter-approved Specific Plan for the Del Mar Plaza required the inclusion of a number of public plazas as part of the "extraordinary public benefits" conferred by the Specific Plan. Sadly, these public plazas are infrequently used, though they were intended to make the Del Mar Plaza a vibrant, community-serving space.  

The Specific Plan required "creation of a large view-oriented plaza next to the food market and smaller plazas for public use."  (Specific Plan page 7), along with "capacity for permanent and rotating public art exhibits as well as other community related cultural events." Restaurant related tables and chairs are limited to 25% of plaza areas, with the rest open for free public use. Page 11, A(1)(F). 

These open plazas are described as "quasi-public" spaces," and the Specific Plan states: "'Quasi-public' is defined as being owned and operated by the property owner but available for public use." Page 47, XX.X.103. 

At page 57 of the Specific Plan (and at page 7 of the accompanying Development Agreement) it states:

And, in City Council Resolution 86-74 (adopted in 1986 as part of approval the Specific Plan) it states that among the "extraordinary public benefits" justifying project approval is:

The main public plaza at the Del Mar Plaza gets limited use in spite of amenities and spectacular ocean views.

The secluded public patio and plaza behind what used to be Esmeralda's Bookstore is rarely used but has great untapped potential.

What is NOT in the Specific Plan and accompanying documents are any procedures or guidelines on public use of these areas indicating what activities are allowed, and setting out a simple procedure for scheduling community/public activities on these public plazas. 

As a result, the Del Mar community is largely missing out on what was intended to be an " extraordinary public benefit". So, I'm putting on my "to do" list to start a process to work with the Plaza management as well as city officials and staff to make sure this important public benefit is supported by guidelines and simple procedures for scheduling public use for a variety of organized activities in addition to the ability to informally drop by and enjoy these open spaces and views.

Let's see if we can't get some public and community activities going in these beautiful spaces, and in the process, help revitalize the plaza's restaurants, shops, and businesses by drawing people in. That's a win-win from my perspective!