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  Community Conversation Consensus
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

 

Third Community Conversation.  Photo Art Olson

Have you voiced your opinions on downtown revitalization? Participants at the third of five neighborhood gatherings found it pretty easy to agree on what they wanted to see downtown: below street level parking at the south end of town with a continuous sidewalk into the center, more pedestrian crosswalks along Camino del Mar and a change in zoning to allow residential units in the village center. “More residents downtown create a more vibrant center and more customers for resident serving retail space,” one participant said.

It didn’t take long for the 30 residents and business owners to jump in with ideas after Council members Lee Haydu and Don Mosier and Planning Director Kathy Garcia presented broad outlines for discussion. Suggestions were acknowledged with nodding heads and exclamations of “I agree!” “Bring back the scramble* at 15th and Camino del Mar.” “Why wait to see how Solana Beach’s one lane experiment works; let’s try it out here too, now.” “Let’s take another look at the Robert Stern plans** for the City Hall property.” “We need some kind of shuttle to bring residents from the Heights and Carmel Valley to the beaches and the center of town if we want to reduce traffic and revitalize the village.”

Photo  panorama Art Olson.

enlargement

The more challenging issue seemed to be how to attract astute business owners, businesses that know how to identify a niche that becomes a destination shop like Dexter’s Deli or the former Country Downs. “What is economic viability; how do we build it into our downtown?” Some residents seemed reassured that any increases in allowed building heights (the west side of Camino del Mar is now limited to 14 feet for new structures) and sizes would protect ocean views from hillside residences. Others asked if we can “incentivize” desired results such as downtown apartments and resident serving retail.

The City has been holding Community Conversations in various Del Mar homes to get input for a Downtown Specific Plan it hopes to put before the voters by November 2012. Garcia said although each meeting is different, “there seems to be a concentration around prioritizing pedestrian amenities, parking for alternative forms of mobility such as bicycles and scooters and multi-use, including housing, downtown.
Have you voiced your opinions yet? There is still time. Come to the last “Conversation” in this first round, a public meeting to be held Sunday, June 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the City Hall Annex or email your ideas and comments to conversations@delmar.ca.us. Those who have already attended are encouraged to stay involved by: sending comments to the same email address, checking out monthly updates at City Council meeting, attending a second series of Community Conversations and workshops planned for Fall, 2011 or by visiting the City’s website at www.delmar.ca.us and click on the community Conversations and Village Revitalization webpage.

 

*Traffic is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross in every direction, including diagonally.

**In 1992 architects Robert Stern of New York, Bokal Kelly-Markam of Del Mar and Emmet Wemple were selected to prepare a design for City Hall.

 

 
 

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