A Level Playing Field

Since November, when voters said no to Del Mar’s Village Specific Plan, there have been a number of proposals discussed regarding revitalization of the downtown including: reducing parking standards, increasing the floor area ratio and building a public parking garage.

Lacking among these proposals is the need for a level playing field. Today, and for the last 45 years, development in Del Mar’s commercial district has been an “inside game.” Faced with an unrealistic parking ordinance, the Planning Department simply chose which properties to enrich. Until objective parking standards replace this subjective discretion, no revitalization can occur.

Del Mar’s planning process created world-class residential properties, but the dilapidated and over-parked downtown is empirical evidence that this same process has failed in developing the downtown. Without a level playing field, developers will not invest in revitalization, and the downtown will continue to deteriorate.

In the January 31 issue of the Del Mar Times, I published a list of 16 under-parked properties, and why their permits were flawed. The City has acknowledged they have no documentation to refute the facts I have presented.

1201 Camino del Mar is an architecturally significant building with more than 4 times as much parking as the average parking ratio of the rest of the commercial district. While it sits vacant, it symbolizes Del Mar’s un-level playing field. I invite Del Mar residents, commercial property owners and merchants to voice their opinion here at www.makedelmarfair.org.

~ George Conkwright