Tom McGreal | Stratford Court
The Village Specific Plan (VSP), EIR and supporting reports comprise over 2,500 pages of documentation assembled at great cost to the City of Del Mar. Most residents will not have time to study all this material. We certainly don’t have the time or money to attempt to refute all the assertions and conclusions based upon a mountain of assumptions about the future of our village. Below are some of the reasonable concerns and sensible questions about Prop J for consideration:
• Is it really necessary to allow 500,000 square feet of development to revitalize the village?
• Won’t our small town character be lost? The City’s own simulations of the proposed development seem to show it will.
• Why doesn’t Prop J take a phased approach that assesses the impact of each phase before we decide upon more development?
• Why does it take a supermajority vote of the City Council (4 votes) to limit or curtail further development if residents want it stopped?
• How do we get the needed public parking if the voluntary “Park Once” plan fails to entice the commercial property owners to participate?
• Parking is already a problem, so why will it take up to ten years to get a Public Parking garage built?
• Shouldn’t Del Mar already have a Citywide Parking Plan to guide us through revitalization?
• Why didn’t the City’s traffic experts communicate the documented failures of roundabouts in other cities?
• The traffic light at 15th St. seems to undermine the whole idea of a continuous stream of traffic moving through the village on a single lane in each direction. Why doesn’t the EIR address this configuration?
• Won’t emergency services vehicles be slowed or impeded by the single lane as retired Fire Chief Jack Gosney believes?
• Why is the plan to address traffic diverted into the residential streets so reactionary? Where is the proactive plan to keep the residential streets safe for all the pedestrians, bicyclists and baby strollers?
• Why are we squeezing 110 new condominiums into the six block commercial area? How will this impact the value of condos already in town?
• Can Del Mar really afford to spend $12 million on public development at a time when federal, state and municipal budgets are being squeezed?
• How will the development and traffic impact our quality of life?
This isn’t a debate about revitalizing our village and making it a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere. We all want that. It’s a question about the overreaching approach taken by Prop J, the extraordinary magnitude of allowed development, the risky traffic proposal, the public safety issues and the impact on our quality of life.
Fortunately, Del Mar has an intelligent electorate, who realize that development projects are not necessarily good for the residents despite approved environmental impact reports, assurances by developers and glossy summary reports that present a rosy picture without any analysis of the risks.
Many folks asked the City Council to take additional time to address questions, conduct traffic tests, and form citizen committees to assess alternatives and build a community consensus before putting the measure on the ballot. This would have been “the Del Mar way”. Unfortunately, the City Council ignored these requests and placed it, flawed as it is, on the November ballot. We now have a take-it or leave-it proposition full of uncertainty which fails to assuage our very reasonable concerns about how it might impact our quality of life.
Let’s protect our beloved village by taking a better approach to revitalization. Voting NO on Proposition J.