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Letters to the Sandpiper about the VSP

When you send a letter to the editor, please include your street address.

New letters are no longer being accepted for this page.
Nov 05   Kathryn Brinton
Nov 05   Blake Bowling
Nov 03   Kevin Popovic
Nov 01 Judith Schuckit
Oct 31   Deborah Isackson-Groban
Oct 30   Bud Emerson
Oct 30   Nitza Leichtling
Oct 29   Drew Cady
Oct 29   Frank Chisari
Oct 28   Mike & Lisa Uhrhammer
Oct 27   George Conkwright
Oct 26   Claire McGreal
Oct 25   Wayne Dernetz
Oct 25   Tom McGreal
Oct 25   Wayne Dernetz
Oct 25   Tim & Sara Senneff
Oct 25   Al Tarkington
Oct 24   H. Randall Stoke
Oct 24   Nancy Stoke
Oct 23   Louise Keeling
Oct 23   Dave Druker
Oct 23   Sam Borgese
Oct 23   Jim Coleman
Oct 22   John & Jill Coughlin
Oct 22   Charlie Khoury
Oct 22   Marilyn & Randy Stoke
Oct 22   Alice Winn
Oct 20   Harriet & Manek Wadia
Oct 20   Hershell Price
Oct 20   Dave Druker
Oct 19   Linda Rock
Oct 19   Scott Linton
Oct 19   Ann Dempsey
Oct 18   George Conkwright
Oct 18   Rick Ehrenfeld
Oct 18   Karen Lockwood
Oct 17   Wayne Dernetz
Oct 17   Richard Simons
Oct 16   Lani Sipe Curtis
Oct 16   Charles Brinton
Oct 16   Nancy Stoke
Oct 16 Jen Grove - DMVA
Oct 16   Joe & Charlie Hoar
Oct 16   Diane Salyer
Oct 15   Kathryn Brinton
Oct 15   Karla Leopold
Oct 15   George Webb
Oct 15   Wayne Dernetz
Oct 15   Linda Holland
Oct 15   Sandy Anglin
Oct 15   Carol Arnold
Oct 15   Linda Chisari
Oct 15   Kipp Downing
Oct 15   Brooke Eisenberg-Pike
Oct 15   Howard Gad
Oct 15   Marnie Mahoney
Oct 15   Susan Frazar
Oct 15   Sarah Dubin-Vaughn
Oct 19   Hershell Price
Oct 15   Susan Schneider
Oct 15   Barbara Stegman
Oct 15   Dave and Jan Ulrey
Oct 15   Karl Newmeyer
Oct 15   Mary Lee Moser
Oct 15   Rick Ehrenfeld
Oct 14   Frank Chisari
Oct 13   Jen Grove - DMVA
Oct 12   Jim Watkins
Oct 11   Wayne Dernetz
Oct 11   Jen Grove
Oct 08   Maneck Wadia
Oct 08   Tensia Trejo
Oct 08   Richard Anglin
Oct 08   Dave Druker
Oct 08   Henry Abarbanel
Oct 05   Ted Middleton
Oct 04   Howard Gad
Oct 04   Harriett Wadia
Oct 04 Pat and John Giebink
Oct 03   Ralph Peck
Sept 26   Richard Earnest and Crystal Crawford
Sept 26   KC Vafiadis
Aug0 8   Dennis Mulligan 
July 19   William D. Daniel 
July 08   Justin Kulongoski 





The gorgeous coastline was obscured by development, the traffic was onerous, and the gimmicky restaurants catered to tourists and day-trippers.

posted 11/05/12

I just returned from a long weekend spent at a coastal resort located in Orange County.  When venturing into the nearby coastal communities for meals or shopping, I observed my environs.  The gorgeous coastline was obscured by development, the traffic was onerous, and the gimmicky restaurants catered to tourists and day-trippers.  Tomorrow, November 6th, we have the opportunity to preserve our village and the values of our community.  From there, we can lay the groundwork for a revitalization that makes sense for the citizens of Del Mar. 

Please join me in voting No on Prop J.

Kathryn Brinton, Luneta Drive   top


We have a rich history in our town and developers that don't even live in Del Mar want to bulldoze that over under the disguise of "improvement".

posted 11/05/12

I'd appreciate the opportunity to send a message to my fellow citizens of Del Mar relative to the irreversible damage that Proposition J will cause if passed.

My message to them is pure and simple...."Please save our quaint charming little beach town before it's lost forever!"

I have lived in Del Mar for over 25 years and since that time I've seen other beach towns get developed beyond the point of even recognizing them any longer (i.e. Encinitas). Two story buildings blocking ocean views where there once was one. Condensed commercial properties where there once was open land. Increased traffic, increased congestion, increased noise-water-air pollution. Where does it stop?

Once the flood gates of development are opened it's almost impossible to close them again. Just ask the residents of Cardiff / Encinitas how they feel about developers wanting to raise the height limits on new commercial buildings from 2 to 5 stories? Only a few years ago developers were able to convince unsuspecting and uninformed residents of those communities to allow building to 2 stories and now it's backfired in their faces!

Let's all in Del Mar learn from their painful experience. We must STOP the vested interests from taking over our beautiful enclave and preserve it for future generations. For those in favor of Prop J it's all about dollars and cents....about profit and more profit! Residents should be more concerned about maintaining the essence of what Del Mar has stood for since the 1800s. A small friendly beach town community protected, preserved and cherished by those that have set down long term roots and call Del Mar "home". We have a rich history in our town and developers that don't even live in Del Mar want to bulldoze that over under the disguise of "improvement".

    continuation in pdf format

Blake H. Bowling, Camino Del Mar   top


Maybe everybody has a point. Maybe we could create other ideas besides those proposed. But why do we have to buy it all at once, in bulk?

posted on 11/03/12

As an east coast transplant I had to choose where to live in southern California. I chose Del Mar because it had what no other community had demonstrated; a balance of the beach, the residents and the business community. For my liking, Cardiff didn’t have enough, and La Jolla had too much, and Del Mar was just right.

As communities and properties around Del Mar have advanced, admittedly Del Mar has found a new need for revisiting how to stay current, and relevant in the lives of residents, business owners and the visitors we receive every year. One of these proposed approaches has been given the name Prop J.

For those of us who have followed Prop J, also known previously as the Village Specific Plan, there were things we liked and things we did not. Some say they like roundabouts and others think there are better ways for improving traffic flow. Some say the think building new structures would be positive, others – like me – think we should do more with what we already have.

Maybe everybody has a point. And maybe we could create some others ideas besides those proposed. But why do we have to buy it all at once, in bulk?

Why can’t we address a project at a time? Can’t we knock one important improvement of Del Mar off the list before we start another? Why do we have to green light such a massive growth package with no idea on how the city will fund it?

I look at our neighbors in Solana Beach that have done so much with Cedros, and to our neighbors in Encinitas with their accomplishment in improving the economic development of their community. I also look to our neighbors in La Jolla who have decided to build their downtown to a much larger commercial scale and imagine that is what Del Mar would become if Prop J were approved.

I encourage undecided voters to learn the facts, look at the plan images and drawings that show the west side of Camino del Mar at 26 feet!  I encourage voters to think through the logic of reducing our main street to one lane, adding roundabouts but keeping a traffic light at 15th Street – and the safety issues that come with one lane each way in case of an emergency.

Lastly, I encourage all voters to remember we can change Del Mar together, and we don’t have to do it all at once.

Kevin Popovic, Stratford Court   top


We know where the angry impatient drivers will go – they’ll go to Stratford, Luneta and Crest. 

posted 11/01/12

I wish I could vote for Prop J.  I’d love to see adequate parking for our commercial district.  I’d love to see clean wide walkable sidewalks. I’d love to see traffic moving smoothly through town. I’d love to see some of our old buildings renovated.  But, sadly, I don’t believe that this plan will solve our problems. 

I am particularly concerned with the traffic plan that the City has put forth.  Early on the idea of narrowing the road and having four roundabouts to facilitate flow was said to work because of the increased capacity as a consequence of having no stops between 9th and the stoplight at the Plaza.  Then at the eleventh hour, under pressure from the business owners, a stoplight was added at 15th Street.

In addition to this drivers will need to stop for cross traffic, for bicyclists in the roundabouts, for pedestrians wishing to cross and for parked cars trying to exit.  Of course, there will also be those drivers stopping to wait for parking spaces to become available as they do at the Post Office.

We’ve all seen what happens to CDM when Hwy 5 is backed up as well as during fair and track seasons – now add to that three roundabouts with only two blocks between each and two stoplights only two blocks further on.  We know where the angry impatient drivers will go – they’ll go to Stratford, Luneta and Crest.  And the City has no plans to protect our neighborhood streets – they’ll deal with the problem AFTER it occurs.  There is a reason why the City chose not to provide us with a trial roundabout :  they will not work here. 

We have been likened to an adorable little European village.  Truthfully, I’ve never seen any village with over 17,000 average daily auto trips per day on their main street.  We need a realistic plan based on an appraisal of the impact than any change on CDM has on the residents.  This is not that plan.  I won’t be voting for Prop J and I hope that you won’t either.

Judith Schuckit, Kalamath Drive   top


If the proposition passes, the city council has given themselves the authority to include properties which are not within the boundaries of the voted upon VSP.

posted 10/31/12

I support downtown revitalization, but cannot support Prop J.

It contains too much potential for over-development, has too many unknowns, and takes control away from the residents and gives it to the city council. 

Buildings on the west side of CDM can go up to 26 feet, creating a kind of tunnel affect, obliterating light and view. Square footage of the buildings can increase by 100 to 150 percent.

Even though we are voting on a specific plan, if the proposition passes, the city council has given themselves the authority to include properties which are not within the boundaries of the voted upon VSP. They have also left up to city council, the ability to reject or approve further expansion of buildings once development reaches a certain threshold. This process is too arbitrary and subjective and gives an unreasonable and frightening amount of discretion to city councils.

Further, the proponents of this measure would have you believe that Prop B still stands. This is a specious claim. Prop B is a measure that the residents fought hard to acquire which safeguards against the kind of excesses this plan allows. The way this VSP is written, all included properties have the potential to increase their FAR to 150 and will no longer be subject to PROP B as long as the property is developed according to the vague outline contained in the VSP.

It is disconcerting that all five members of the new council are strong proponents of the plan as written and they have given themselves and future councils so much discretionary power in the implementation of this plan. 

Please join me in voting N on Prop J.

Deborah Isackson-Groban, 7th. Street   top


The VSP is a "process framework" describing the outer limits of potential development spread over six blocks over the next thirty years.

posted 10/30/12

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself", said FDR. Was he watching Del Mar's Prop J campaign?

The Prop J Village Specific Plan (VSP) is a plan, not a blueprint. Not a straight jacket. No handcuffs. Not a top-down forcefeed to helpless residents. Not a nefarious plot by demonic developers and special interests. It will not create three new plaza developments. It will not "canyonize" our center city. It will not "La Jollaize" Del Mar.

In most organizations a good plan is a flexible set of guidelines to provide focus and direction. It achieves objectives systematically and gradually. It has built-in feedback loops to measure effectiveness. And it is easily modified if experience so instructs.

Probably the most accurate characterization I would use for the VSP is a "process framework" describing the outer limits of potential development spread over six blocks over the next thirty years. It was laid out by professionals with extensive input from citizens. It has clear safeguards to keep it from growing out of control-- numerous pause buttons, rewind buttons, reset buttons, and stop buttons. This plan is laid out for gradual change with feedback loops, enumerating a series of thresholds and triggers. When a threshold for growth or height is reached, it triggers an assessment of change at that point to determine if the plan needs to be modified. For instance, when a block gets to 50% second stories, a reassessment for that block is triggered. Similarly, when we get developments totalling 70,000 new square feet spread over six blocks, a reassessment is triggered. All potential view blockages are subject to Design Review Board (DRB) determination. The controls are always in the hands of Del Mar. As a last resort in a worst case scenario, citizens could mount a referendum to force the plan back on the ballot for voter reconsideration.

The proposed roundabouts and two lane configuration appear to concern many citizens. These too are subject to change. Street changes always remain under the control of the city. A compromise that seems to be appealing to several Council Members is to experiment with temporary roundabout installations before making a final decision. A very logical spot for a demonstration of roundabout effectiveness would be in the north beach area where there are now two very dysfunctional stop signs with one lane in each direction. Such a demo could help us all learn whether roundabouts improve traffic flow. If not, the center city roundabouts could be removed from the plan.

The bottom line is that we retain control over the size and rate of change in downtown, as we have down fairly well in our residential areas. The choice is clear. We can gradually transform our downtown into a pedestrian-friendly center. Or we can resist change which means we continue,like frogs in boiling water, watching increasing automobile traffic defining our town.

Bud Emerson. Klish Way   top


Each review leaves me more confused, as the scope of what J covers is multilevel and ambiguous, to say the least.

posted 10/30/12

I am writing in opposition to Prop J.  I have attended multiple city meetings and studied the proposition carefully.   Each review leaves me more confused, as the scope of what J covers is multilevel and ambiguous, to say the least.

In speaking with neighbors, many have summarized that J is about the traffic flow or the change in FAR of the village, though not one person has had a lucid comprehension of the many facets which the passing of J will allow....  & that's because it is not clear and succinct in it's scope.    Let's review:

  • Traffic engineers reported that the circles could work when 15th St. was included in the plan as one of those circles.  In the "12th hour", the city determined to leave the traffic signal at 15th St. with no mention of how that will back up Northbound traffic. 
  • On an average day, it takes 45 - 60 seconds for an average group of pedestrians to get across intersections.   It is not 'rocket science'  to realize that there will be frequent and consistent halts to the flow of traffic...  and that cars will select to BYPASS the Coast Hwy. through neighborhoods.
  • Once we allow construction of 26 ft. and 30 ft. tall buildings in our downtown, the "Village of Del Mar" will cease  to be the charming "village" which draws tourists from all over the world.    Do we need to improve the presentation of our downtown???   Yes!   Though the heights and FAR which Prop J will allow will forever alter the character of our town.
  • Increase in noise and air pollution will affect the public health of all the residents.    Increases in water use will continue to affect the water table of our communities, at a time when we should all be working to decrease water use and increase drought awareness.
  • Prop J does not specify parking issues.    Prop J does not determine which sites will or can be used for parking lots.
  • Prop J is not clear regarding costs.   Where is the money coming from to create these changes??? 
  • Prop J does not clarify when and how or who will determine what happens in my village!   

With respect to the individuals who toiled long hours to create this proposition,  I feel that it does not reflect the needs of most of the residents of Del Mar.   It is propitious for the landowners and developers, while the local residents who love and cherish their community are "being left in the dark" regarding future impact to their community and quality of life here.  Once we lose what we love about Del Mar:  the spacious, tree-filled, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods... we can never reclaim this tranquil lifestyle again.

Nitza Leichtling, 9th Street   top


What is clear to me is that this is yet another attempt by developers to over build a small coastal community.

posted 10/29/12

Consider the grassroots work of those who are opposed to Proposition J.  There are at least 30 Del Mar citizens, including many past and present leaders of the community, who are taking time out of their schedules each of these past several weeks, to walk and talk and inform their neighbors about this Proposition. The supporters of Prop J on the other hand, have hired a group of people, mostly from out of the community, who are being paid to support this Proposition with their efforts.  Here are the statistics on this NO on Prop J grassroots effort:

The number of contributors to the No on Prop J effort is 70.  By comparison, the number of contributors to Yes on Prop J is 42.  The average contribution by No on Prop J supporters is $227 compared with $642 from the Yes on Prop J supporters.  The total budget of the No on J effort is currently $12,784 compared with $47,087 for the Yes on Prop J.  (nearly four times as much money being spent by the Yes on Prop J supporters).  

What is clear to me is that this is yet another attempt by developers to over build a small coastal community, reaping enormous profits up front and leaving the community with an overbuilt commercial footprint which destroys the quality of life in their community.  Those developers are not considering the impact that all of this increase in population, traffic, noise and air pollution will have upon the village of Del Mar; nor will they care, as they build this oversized footprint and depart with their tidy profits, without so much as a glance back at yet another demised coastal community.  What is also clear is that this ‘boutique retail’ model in these small coastal communities breaks down and no longer works when large box plazas, such as Flower Hill, Del Mar Highlands, and PLEASE NO, Paseo One are implemented mere miles inland from these communities.  Del Mar’s commercial district cannot possibly compete with these large plazas and the notion that we must is simply out of touch with reality.

Please, vote NO on this Proposition.  

Drew Cady, Stratford Court   top


Let’s debate about this with friendship and civility, knowing that we all want the best for Del Mar.

posted 10/29/12

Dear neighbors, we all live in the same lovely place and will want to talk, play and work with one another after November 6th. Let’s get past the vitriol that has hardened our differences about the Village Specific Plan so we can cooperate to make Del Mar the place we all want it to be. I think we could move in that direction, together, by establishing a set of priorities to deal with the issues the VSP tries to address and then implement those priorities in a staged, measured, and democratic way.

Many of us on both sides of Prop J agree that major expansion of the number of parking spaces in Del Mar should be a top priority. If you agree, one way to get started would be to establish a citizens’ committee to: (a) find a way to do that, and then (b) monitor its effect on retail sales, sales tax revenue and traffic congestion, and then (c) determine if anything else needs to be done, and then (d) make additional changes, if necessary, step by step, one at a time. This is just a suggestion. You may prefer to target a different problem first, or to hit multiple targets all at once, so let’s debate about this with friendship and civility, knowing that we all want the best for Del Mar.

Here are four steps we could take towards achieving this goal, or any other goal we citizens identify for action:

  1. We could start by asking the Council to establish a Downtown Parking Garage (DPG) Committee that will be tasked with developing a plan to build and pay for construction of an underground parking garage on City-owned property. The Committee would consist of Del Mar residents, shopkeepers, and commercial property owners who currently represent both sides of Prop J, and members of our Planning Commission plus non-voting representatives from our Planning Department who can provide needed guidance and advice. 
  2. After seeking citizen input regarding the location, design and funding plan for a garage, the Committee would poll Del Mar citizens to determine the citywide level of support for the project and, if approved by a majority, encourage the City to raise the money and build the DPG.
  3. After construction and the passage of enough time (e.g. 2-3 years) to monitor the DPG’s impact on retail sales, sales tax revenue and traffic, the Committee would poll the citizens again to determine if they think more needs to be done and, if so, to prioritize the additional specific revitalization measures (e.g. traffic calming on Camino Del Mar, commercial development, etc) they’d like to see implemented next.
  4. If a majority of respondents vote for the latter, a new Committee would be formed to repeat steps 1 to 3 for the proposal that received the largest number of votes as long as that represented a majority of the voters.

As I wrote above, this is just one idea that you may or may not like, and it may not even be feasible for funding reasons. Nonetheless, I hope this suggestion stimulates you to share your own ideas, perhaps via this forum, to keep the dialog moving. This is much too important an issue to spend any more time calling each other names instead of working together to reach a consensus and moving ahead.

There’s one last thing I’d like to share with you. The intensity of the heat around this issue reminds me of a very thoughtful passage I love from one of Carl Sagan's books, Pale Blue Dot. Sagan narrates that passage in a short 3 minute YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nl5dlbCh8lY. I think there are parallels between our little village and the Pale Blue Dot that Sagan so eloquently describes in this passage, especially the point he makes at the very end. 

Frank Chisari, Crest Road   top


None of Del Mar's economic assets are in Prop J, which is supposed to be a community master plan for revitalization and economic development.

posted 10/28/12

If the City Council made a list of “Del Mar’s Best,” it would not include, to the west, over 1 million beachgoers with easy access to one of California’s finest beaches; to the north, over 2.3 million event patrons at the Fairgrounds; to the east, easy access to the 5 Freeway; and to the south, great getaways for day visitors and tourists and outstanding employment opportunities with workers commuting daily to: world renowned biotech companies, UCSD, Scripps Hospitals, the Hilton La Jolla, world-class Torrey Pines Golf Course and The Lodge. Nor would the list include, in the center of it all, Del Mar's residents, who walk their downtown daily, stop to greet one another and their dogs, and at the end of the day, stop to watch the sunset and hear people remarking of its splendor in languages from all over the world.

None of these features, Del Mar's economic assets, are in Proposition J, which is supposed to be a community master plan for revitalization and economic development. The plan is also missing two of Del Mar's hotels, the business park, and a business recruitment and retention plan.

There's not even a parking structure in Proposition J, which is remarkable, because the City has made four attempts at a community master plan in the 13 years I have lived here, and each time the community has identified parking as the City's most important and immediate issue.

In fact, Proposition J only creates 30 new parking spaces (Village Specific Plan, p. VII-9), but reduces Camino Del Mar to two lanes to do it. The signal at 15th will back up northbound traffic into the roundabouts, the transition from two lanes to one at 9th will CRUSH northbound traffic each evening, and smart drivers will pop the escape hatch and divert to Stratford Court and Crest Road. I commute and live on Stratford Court, between 13th and 15th, already Del Mar's single busiest segment of residential street. Note, too, that two-story development on the west side of Camino Del Mar is actually three stories to all residents on or west of Stratford Court – come see for yourself. It will be the Great Wall of Del Mar. So much for sunrise through the Torrey Pines.

You know what is in Proposition J? That the City Council no longer needs the approval of residents for new development, and a plan to develop 220,000 square feet of residential and retail space. That's why Proposition J was rushed on to the November 6 ballot, with all of its flaws and omissions and little support. Do Del Mar residents really want to give up our veto power over the City Council? Not me.

Vote no on Proposition J.

Mike and Lisa Uhrhammer, Stratford Court   top


Re-development of Del Mar cannot occur until the City has established reasonable parking standards.

posted 10/27/12

For 45 years Del Mar has had impossible parking standards. This led to the issuance of back door permits to under parked properties, which resulted in substandard development and a parking shortage for entire the commercial district. Numerous meetings were held to promote the Village Specific Plan, and the residents answered:

(a) We don’t want a 500-page monster document to control future development.
(b) We don’t want more buildings; we want re-development of the dilapidated buildings.
(c) We want the City to correct the parking shortage by building a City-owned parking structure.

The Village Specific Plan is a disincentive to redevelopment since it requires a commercial property owner to convert his private parking to public parking in return for reasonable parking standards. The VSP is flawed in many additional ways and will never re-vitalize the downtown. Re-development of Del Mar cannot occur until the City has established reasonable parking standards.

George Conkwright, Camino del Mar   top


Bird Rock does not compare with Del Mar, so let's stop that apples-to-oranges comparison right now!

posted 10/26/12

Some proponents of Prop J have used the roundabouts at Bird Rock as an example of how roundabouts might be used in Del Mar.  Bird Rock does not compare with Del Mar, so let's stop that apples-to-oranges comparison right now!

Del Mar's Camino del Mar (CDM), aka Hwy 101, is the north-south alternative to Interstate 5.  The stretch of La Jolla Blvd. between La Jolla and Pacific Beach is not an alternate route to any major artery, but is a route for locals shuttling between two neighborhoods.

  1. Interstate 5 is located one mile east of CDM, and it fills with traffic congestion every morning and evening, and many of those commuters divert at one of the Del Mar exits to use CDM to escape a back-up.  Bird Rock has no such problem.
  2. One of the largest employment centers in San Diego County is located just to Del Mar's south: UTC, Sorrento Valley, UCSD and Torrey Pines Mesa. Many of those employees routinely commute through Del Mar on CDM.  Bird Rock has no such adjacent major employment center.
  3. Del Mar is home to the fairgrounds that receives more than three million visitors each year.  Bird Rock has no such attraction.
  4. Del Mar's beach receives more than one million visitors each year.  Not so for Bird Rock.

For these reasons, clearly it is a specious argument that concludes that "what works in Bird Rock, will work in Del Mar".  Further, there are several other important reasons why roundabouts are not good for Del Mar.

    continuation in pdf format

Claire McGreal, Stratford Court   top


Opponents claimed Prop J opens a “possible potential of 110 condominium units along the west side of Camino del Mar.”  

posted 10/25/12

In a letter to the Sandpiper dated 10/23/2012, opponents claimed Prop J opens a “possible potential of 110 condominium units along the west side of Camino del Mar.”  They also stated the 100% FAR is not consistent with the Community Plan.  Both claims are false.  The opponents also failed to recognize Del Mar’s obligation under State law to adopt a Housing Element. 

I worked on the original Community Plan as Del Mar’s City Manager in 1976, along with Gary Binger and Dave Keeling.  That document continues to provide excellent guidance for preserving and maintaining the unique features of Del Mar.  But two of the most important Goals and Policies approved in the 1976 Community Plan, and which are still in effect, remain unfulfilled. 

Goal 2 of the Community Plan is to “reduce the impact of the automobile throughout the Community” and, in particular, along Camino del Mar.  Implementing strategies adopted later called for investigating the possibility of narrowing Camino del Mar from 4 to 2 lanes.  That is precisely what Proposition J, the Village Specific Plan, does.  And the investigation concludes we can accomplish this goal while adding traffic capacity to reduce congestion, lower speeds, reduce pollution and noise, and improve safety.  

Goal 4 calls for focusing retail and office uses in an “economically viable, pedestrian oriented and attractive area that serves the needs of residents and visitors.”  That is precisely what the VSP seeks to implement.  Goal 4 goes on to say that the commercial area must be “integrated into the residential area,” and one of the explicit objectives of this goal is to, “allow mixed-residential-commercial land uses within the residential area.”  Nothing in the original Community Plan addressed FAR.  The 45% FAR limit came later as a zoning regulation, and was pegged at the most restrictive FAR for residential zones!  This overly restrictive FAR is contrary to the clear intent of Goal 4.

    continuation in pdf format

Wayne Dernetz, 9th Street   top


The residents should not be lulled into thinking that Prop J would be easy to stop or curtail.  

posted 10/25/12

Prop J would be hard to stop…

Proponents are arguing that Prop J is a  “process framework describing outer limits of potential development spread over six blocks over the next 30 years “with “clear safeguards to keep it from growing out of control”. Below are the facts:

  • Prop J is a long term commitment by the City of Del Mar to a set of specific regulations that allow 500,000 square feet of development in our six block village.
  • Development under Prop J can only be curtailed or stopped with a supermajority vote of the City Council (4 of 5 votes) after a development threshold is triggered.
  • For example, if the City Council fails to reach a supermajority vote when development has reached the first threshold of 350,000 square feet, development would continue until the next threshold is reached (a development total of 425,000 square feet).
  •  A development minded City Council could simply vote to let the development continue despite community consensus to the contrary. 

Even more remarkably, the proponents have suggested that “as a last resort in a worst case scenario, citizens could mount a referendum and force the plan back on the ballot for voter reconsideration.”  The community should certainly not have to endure a future referendum to stop Prop J after our village has been negatively impacted by overdevelopment.

The residents should not be lulled into thinking that Prop J would be easy to stop or curtail. The Council carefully crafted the supermajority rule to make it hard to stop. Several letters were sent to the City Council recommending that these actions require a simple majority vote.  These recommendations were completely ignored and never publicly deliberated.

Now is the time to stop Prop J.

Vote No on Prop J.

Tom McGreal, Stratford Court   top


The opponents of Prop J have no basis in fact, nor any professional opinion, to back up their wild predictions. 

posted 10/25/12

Oh, the exaggerations!  The baseless, unfounded claims of pending disaster!  Predictions that the proposed changes to Camino del Mar will lead to a new ‘Carmageddon’!  Woe is us! 

Relax dear reader.  None of that is true.  It’s all political hype designed to make you fearful and to mislead you.  The opponents of Prop J have no basis in fact, nor any professional opinion, to back up their wild predictions. 

The well-studied and documented Village Specific Plan calls for installing three roundabouts at 9th, 11th and 13th Streets, in place of existing stop signs and traffic signals, and to reduce traffic lanes from two to one in each direction.  Trading in the stop signs and traffic signal for roundabouts will increase, not reduce, the amount of traffic that can be safely handled on Camino del Mar, even with just two travel lanes.  It will reduce existing congestion and meet expected traffic demand for the next twenty years.  It will improve emergency response times. These are the conclusions of professional traffic engineers and planners who have studied actual, existing traffic on Camino del Mar. Not wild speculation.  The opponents have no such studies to back up their claims.  Let’s look at some specifics.

1.  Opponents say, “Roundabouts won’t work when traffic volumes are unequal, as is the case along Camino del Mar and the 9th, 11th, and 13th Streets.”  That is simply not true.  The City’s traffic analysis, prepared by nationally-recognized, award-winning traffic planners and engineers, have considered the exact traffic volumes at each of these intersections, using national standards and analytic methods.  They conclude that roundabouts at these locations will function at improved levels of service than at present, given current traffic counts and projected increases, now and well into the future. 

    continuation in pdf format

Wayne Dernetz, 9th Street   top


Roundabouts will be the gateway to the commercialization agenda of “Olde Del Mar”.

posted 10/25/12

Cheers to hoping the VSP or PROP. J or roundabouts is DEFEATED. Roundabouts will be the gateway to the commercialization agenda of “Olde Del Mar”. Coming from La Jolla and witnessing the previously called “Village” as well turn into 2 - 5 story Commercial Centers is not pretty. Surely leaders and community could sit down and think of creative ideas to increase revenue which this is all about. Could possibly a concerted effort signing residents up for an eScript fund where shopping monies bolster funds? (just 1 idea.)

Roundabouts in the Bird Rock area took over 7 years to complete creating much hardship to businesses along the strip with several shutting doors. Roundabouts confusing to out-of-towners as well.

If we can address the parking issue that would certainly increase greater participation of our establishments.  A good idea would be to go subterranean as deep as possible with a parking structure in the vicinity of 9th Street. Keep it under 28ft above ground with possible open air community Basketball court above. Blend the structure with palms, imported shrub and hardscape and keep attractive as possible.

Well....we love Del Mar....one of the last bastions of true “Village” at the coast in SoCal!

Tim & Sara Senneff   top


Roundabouts will not fix I-5 or Camino Del Mar.

posted 10/25/12

A new campaign piece says Camino Del Mar is Broken, and Prop J will fix it.


The TRUTH is I-5 is broken, and Roundabouts will not fix I-5 or Camino Del Mar.

Back in 1976 when we were working on the Community Plan traffic experts told us that Camino Del Mar capacity limits will be exceeded any time I-5 exceeds carrying capacity and motorists look for alternatives.  Neither La Jolla or Encinitas have any similarity with their roundabouts.

Our solution back then (right or wrong) was to install a series of stop signs to "encourage" motorists to avoid Camino Del Mar.

Personally, I am a fan of roundabouts, having cycled through hundreds in France.  However, they will not solve Del Mar's  traffic problems, nor are the proposed roundabouts bicycle friendly.

Join me in voting No on Prop J.

Al Tarkington, 11th Street   top


Only one lane each way on CDM will be a disaster and reason enough to vote "NO"on J.

posted on 10/24/12

I sought experienced professional advice before writing this. Only one lane each way on CDM will be a disaster and reason enough to vote "NO"on J.

The purpose of CDM should be to move traffic to and through the Village. The City's traffic consultant made its studies on light traffic days. Contrary to the Council's proposal the following matters should have been considered:
The rate of movement of traffic will be governed by the slowest driver. Our experience is that this driver will slow or stop at the roundabout.

If there is an emergency the first impulse of a driver will be to act on his or her own decision. There is no provision for synchronizing or controlling traffic in an emergency. Retired Fire Chief Jack Gosney has said "creating single lane traffic on CDM will seriously increase emergency vehicle response tunes, particularly impacting the south end of town. This was a bad idea when it was brought up in the past and still is a bad idea." Chief Gosney is not beholden to the Council.
We already use Stratford Ct to reach Coast Bl. How much worse can it get? Has the Council no consideration for Stratford Ct residents and other residents on residential streets affected by one lane CDM?

The drawing on Exhibit B of the Plan is a deception. What if the motor bikes in the drawing were a Toyota; the next space a large SUV, and the usual number of bicycles behind. Should the Toyota back up the visibility is very limited. Everyone would sue each other and all would sue the CITY. I explained to the City's staff that the City's liability would be a real possibility.

The proposed roundabouts are too small.  The City of Clairemont is tearing its out. A bus driver told us she had to drive back and forth to navigate the ballyhooed Bird Rock roundabouts in La Jolla. CDM will have trucks, buses, vans, autos and pedestrians and bicycles which will have the right of way all at once.

To go on is unnecessary. We must vote NO! on Prop J.

H. Randall Stoke, Ocean Front   top


He/she is then in a position to obstruct all those behind him/her who have just come out of the roundabout.

posted 10/24/12

I just returned from a weekend in Virginia southwest of Washington DC, and am writing to report that I found another place where roundabouts don’t work. 

We were driving on a rural one lane in each direction highway with mostly battlefields and woods on either side of the road, travelling at the posted 45 to 50 mph. We came upon a roundabout where this highway intersected another highway of a similar nature. And we came to a screeching halt. As I looked around, I saw that to our right was a school bus past the exit of the roundabout, and it was stopped dropping off children. Behind the bus were 6 cars, stopped, who had passed through the roundabout and could go no further because of the bus; behind these cars were 3 cars who were stopped in the roundabout with nowhere to go because their way was blocked. Each of the other sides of the roundabout with incoming traffic were also stopped 5-6 cars deep and growing, as they could not move because of the three cars stopped in the roundabout. Once the school bus started moving the cars all began to unwind themselves and people began to get on their way.  One school bus stopped traffic coming from 4 different directions.

Could this happen in Del Mar?  Sure it could!  If not a school bus, consider the impact of a tourist or a senior citizen who has limited ability/visibility trying to back out of a diagonal parking space into oncoming traffic on Camino Del Mar. If parked with an extended cab truck or SUV to his/her right, he/she has to pull virtually all the way out of the parking space to be able to see around the parked car, and he/she is then in a position to obstruct all those behind him/her who have just come out of the roundabout. And those in the roundabout. And those waiting to proceed into the roundabout. And the string of idling traffic grows longer and longer while the tourist/senior driver gets more nervous.

How could this possibly be better for the citizens of this community?  Another reason why I’m voting NO on Prop J.

Nancy Stoke, Coast Boulevard   top


The potential of 110 second-story condominiums along CDM is NOT implementing our original goaL.

posted 10/23/12

Many citizens of Del Mar are puzzled by the ballot language describing Prop J. as a "Village Specific Plan that implements the goals of our Community Plan and preserves the unique character of Del Mar."

We who worked on the original General Plan years back unanimously agreed that one goal should be to maintain the one and two-story buildings on the westside of Camino del Mar, encouraging new buildings to be one-story and maintaining a floor-area-ratio that promotes space between buildings.  Having the ocean as a "back-drop" to our town was important.

Now the possible potential of 110 second-story condominiums (perhaps with two cars each) along the west-side of Camino del Mar, plus a 100% FAR is NOT implementing our original goal and does not preserve the unique character of Del Mar.

If Del Mar has problems, we can solve them by less obtrusive means.  Street-scapes can change.  Buildings are permanent

Louise Keeling, Cuchara Drive  top


While everyone agrees that Del Mar needs refurbishment, Prop J creates a framework that is not needed. 

posted 10/23/12

Some people see Prop J as a blueprint with details to be filled in later and that we should be happy with a blueprint rather than a detailed plan that will hamstring future development.  The problem is two-fold.

One the blueprint is bad – it allows for too much development.  The two stories on the west side may create a canyon affect along Camino del Mar.  The one lane and roundabouts are untested given the unique traffic conditions in Del Mar.  Actually, Camino del Mar is according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety not a good candidate for roundabouts.  Finally the blueprint does not include any specific means for ensuring that residential streets will not be overwhelmed with traffic.

The other problem with blueprints is that they are sketches for what may come.  As two-dimensional caricatures they do not necessarily represent what will actually be built.  The third dimension many times turns out to be vastly different.  Blueprints are difficult to decipher unless you are trained at reading them.  Finally, how times have there been “whoops” moments as blueprints are turned into reality?

While everyone agrees that Del Mar needs refurbishment, Prop J creates a framework that is not needed.  The 220,000 square feet of additional space is not required along with the 110 residential units for refurbishment.
Finally the blueprint does not guarantee anything.  There is no guarantee that:

  1. Any new retail will be resident-serving.
  2. Any residential will be affordable or provide for permanent residents.
  3. That the $12 million in infrastructure costs will be funded through grants.
  4. That traffic will be contained on Camino del Mar and not spillover into the residential neighborhoods.
  5. That future city councils and DRB’s will protect residents from over development.
  6. That the plan will generate any more sales tax revenue.

There probably is only one guarantee that developers will immediately build 110 residential units worth at bare minimum $55 million in value – swamping Del Mar with parking and traffic problems.

Please Vote NO on Prop J.  Save Olde Del Mar.

Dave Druker, 10th Street  top


The scale of change and the impact of Prop J are not gradual and it is not a pedestrian friendly plan. 

posted 10/23/12

Del Mar residents have never feared to boldly challenge any plan that clearly endangers Del Mar’s essence as a unique and precious environment.  Prop J is a plan that endangers this essence and concerned residents have rallied once again to step forward and forcefully say “NO”.

Proponents of Prop J speak of a plan with “safeguards, triggers and reassessments”.  

  • Under Prop J 50% of the village is constructed with second story structures before the safeguards to protect residential views are triggered.

    Under Prop J 70,000 square of feet of developed retail space (another Del Mar Plaza) is constructed before any development review is triggered.

    Under Prop J traffic circles will be installed and grid locked I-5 coastal commuters will create dangerous pedestrian crossings and move Camino del Mar traffic to residential streets.

The scale of change and the impact of Prop J are not gradual and it is not a pedestrian friendly plan. 

No amount of Del Mar Design Review Board meetings will be a guarantee against undesirable development in the village. There is no guarantee that present or future City Council’s will have the fortitude or desire to vigorously enforce development restrictions on another 50% of second story development nor vigorously fight against an additional Prop J permitted150,000 square feet of retail space development. Nor will either of these elected and appointed boards and councils willingly remove the “experiment” in roundabouts before exhausting every allocated penny of valuable city funds on a myriad of roundabout permutations. 

Non of this enforcement will take place because to take such vigorous actions these boards and councils would need to admit to the flaws in the original plan or vote against the commercial interests that were co-architects of Prop J.

And the back-up solution for a failed Prop J or a reluctant or intransigent board or council unwilling to listen to residents is for residents to take back control of the village plan by mounting another costly and divisive resident “referendum”. 

Prop J is neither a plan nor a blueprint for the revitalization of Del Mar.  It is a par-baked concept with no realistic expectation, even by its supporters, that it will raise to deliver what Del Mar requires: a viable and enforceable village revitalization that projects and protects the essence of Del Mar.

There is a plan for the Del Mar village that residents can support however Prop J is not that plan.

I urge residents to vote NO on Prop J.

Sam Borgese, 10th Street   top


Be for the revitalization of downtown and look forward for the future of all those who come after us.

posted 10/23/12

Over the past 29 years I’ve been in the heart of Del Mar there have been a few constants: terrific people; beautiful weather and beach; wonderful restaurants; world-class horse racing and events; increasing traffic; groups working to improve the village; and those who are opposed to virtually any changes or improvements. The Plaza was opposed preferring to keep the run-down strip center that stood on that spot; L’Auberge was opposed in favor of the weed covered vacant lot
that was at the corner of 15th & CDM and it took two elections to get the hotel passed; the firm stand refusing to increase parking and risk added traffic at the train station led Amtrak to stop service to Del Mar and move the station to Solana Beach; formally complaining to the City Council because Robert Wyland’s whale painting at the fairgrounds exceeded the one year it was supposed to be up; and even notifying the City Code Enforcer because my temporary 40th anniversary banner exceeded the 30 days allowable. Virtually the same people were in each
opposition group.

We now have the latest round of “us” and “them” with Prop J in Del Mar; the proposition to modify the Village Specific Plan to “revitalize” downtown. There has been a group of residents meeting, as directed by Council, for a couple years to look at form based code. Out of that, came proposed “Revitalization” and over 75 community meetings to get input with the entire timeline laid out. After all those meetings and input from the residents, property owners, and businesses,
the Council then voted to put it on the ballot, Prop J, to let the voters decide. Pick a side: Be for the revitalization of downtown and look forward for the future of all those who come after us; or be for keeping Del Mar the quaint olde village that it is and allow the 20 year old specific plan to be what guides the future? It’s so much more than taking Camino del Mar to one lane each way with roundabouts. So much more than changing height limits or floor area ratios. And so much
more than about parking requirements. It really is about what our wonderful Olde Del Mar will look like and be like to live and work in twenty years from now when my grandkids have kids.

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Jim Coleman, State Farm Insurance, Del Mar   top


With diagonal parking, bike lanes and single lanes going North and South there is no place for vehicles to pull over when an emergency truck approaches from behind.

posted 10/22/12

One of the main reasons we are against Prop J is because of the lack of information regarding the response time for emergency vehicles to cross CDM and get up the hill.  I had a long talk with Jack Gosney, former Fire Chief of Del Mar, and he said the current plan would definitely increase response times.  With diagonal parking, bike lanes and single lanes going North and South there is no place for vehicles to pull over when an emergency truck approaches from behind.  The current fire marshall who doesn't spend much time here, hasn't answered the question about response time.

Several years ago the city wanted to put roundabouts going up Via Alta to Crest.  They put a practice roundabout at the corner of Van Dyke and Via Alta and the fire truck couldn't maneuver around and the city nixed that plan.  We shouldn't be voting on any plan that hasn't had a preliminary trial period to see if it will work.  

Also, yesterday's North County Times edition of the UT said that "25% of Del Mar residents qualify for affordable housing".  The VSP is asking for housing beginning at $500,000 - you  call that affordable? Why don't the owners of Stratford Square turn their upstairs offices into tiny apartments and add a bathroom and kitchenette and maybe those could be affordable.  Nothing that will be built under this new plan will be affordable.

We hope that everyone in Del Mar will get out and vote NO on Prop J.  There are just too many unknowns in this huge project.  Sprucing up will be good but not to the degree this plan is offering,

Jill and John Coughlin, Van Dyke Avenue   top


The idea of a roundabout is to keep traffic MOVING, not moving to a stoplight in a few hundred feet.

posted 10/22/12

The Arts Fair and the long line of single lane traffic which ensued was all I needed to see. Please tell me why Proposition J would be any different and by the way,  the roundabouts would not help. I spent 20 years in New England before returning to our Del Mar house after that adventure was over. I guarantee that a roundabout with stoplights at the end of it or before it simply does not exist in "roundabout-land" (New England). New Englanders do not put up with such silliness. Such an arrangement would be as counter-productive there, as it would be here.  It totally foils the idea of a roundabout, to have a stoplight at each end.  The idea of a roundabout is to keep traffic MOVING, not moving to a stoplight in a few hundred feet.

Also, I noticed that "YES ON J" signs are on the West side of Camino Del Mar and "No on J" signs are on the East side. Is that possibly because of the boodle bag of money the West side owners will make when they can build higher? I think the question answers itself.

Charlie Khoury, 15th Street   top


The rate of movement of traffic on CDM as proposed will be governed by the slowest driver. 

posted 10/22/12

Vote NO on Proposition J.  The rate of movement of traffic on CDM as proposed will be governed by the slowest driver.  Our experience is that this driver will slow or stop at the roundabouts.

Marilyn and Randy Stoke, Ocean Front   top


Traffic continues to still have a negative impact. Prop J will not alleviate this onus.

posted 10/22/12

I have been a resident/voter in Del Mar for fifty years. There was no I-5 when I first arrived, and despite the heavy traffic there was a prevailing feeling that we all lived in a small, quiet and yes, quaint beach community. A lot has changed since then, but traffic continues to still have a negative impact. Prop J will not alleviate this onus for the citizens and may have the following affects on our health and safety and welfare.

  1. Emergency response times for fire and medical personnel will increase due to single lane/roundabout configuration. No one wants to chance additional wait time while experiencing a medical emergency
  2. Single lane/roundabouts on Camino del Mar will cause increased traffic on neighboring streets.
  3. No consideration seems to have been given to traffic rerouted from I-5 due to emergencies/shut downs.
  4. The addition of 220,000 square feet of commercial/residential space will change the charm and quaintness of Olde Del Mar.
  5. Second stories on the west side of CdM will cut off views of ocean, sky, trees.
  6. Prop J will take away the ability of residents to vote on large scale development in downtown Del Mar. 
  7. No viable financing has been assured that guarantees residents will not have to pay for the additional $12 million in infrastructure costs.
  8. Etc.

Alice Winn, Rimini Road   top


NO on Prop J denies life to this Del Mar Frankenstein.

posted 10/20/12

Del Mar Councilman elect, Al Corti, in an interview with the San Diego UT, dated October 17, 2012, called our flawed VSP a MONSTER. 

We commend him on his courage to forcefully and analytically speak the truth. We hope we can soon also commend him for his intelligence when he supports NO on Prop J, votes accordingly and thereby denies life to this Del Mar Frankenstein.

Harriet and Maneck Wadia, Luneta Drive   top


We certainly accept that apt description.

posted 10/20/12

According to an article published Wednesday, October 17th, by Reporter Lyndsay Winkley of the Union Tribune, a future councilperson and a leader in the FOR campaign, called the Village Specific Plan a “monster”.  This description of Prop J was stated at the VSP educational meeting on Monday evening at the City Hall Annex. Here is the quote as printed in that article: 

“The community created this monster and the city did a good job at delivering it. Not all the pieces are going to be satisfactory to everyone, and that’s the good and the bad part, I guess.”

The Committee to Save Olde Del Mar has said from the beginning of our campaign to defeat this overly ambitious and complex plan, that it would destroy the quaint feel our downtown village, create a traffic nightmare on Camino Del Mar, and reduce the quality of life of our residents. We have never used the term “Monster” to describe our feelings about what will happen if it were to go forward, but we certainly accept that apt description as stated in the article.  We appreciate the frankness and agree that if implemented, Prop J will be destructive to the quality of life of our residents.

Hershell Price, Grand Avenue   top


There are four conditions that indicate roundabouts should not be used.

posted 10/20/12

The proponents of Prop J continue to believe that the facts about roundabouts prove that roundabouts will work in Del Mar.  Save Olde Del Mar believes the following facts about roundabouts.

There are four conditions that indicate roundabouts should not be used:

  1. Roundabouts should not be installed when traffic volumes are not equal (from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) – traffic along Camino del Mar is much greater than on 9th, 11th or 13th Streets.
  2. Roundabouts should not be installed in isolation (from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) – between stop lights like at 4th and 15th Streets.
  3. Roundabouts should not be installed when the grade is more than 3% (from an expert planner with more than 35 years in urban planning both domestically and internationally) - like 9th and 11th and 13th Streets.  Specifically, the pedestrian crossing on the west side of Camino del Mar at 9th and 11th will be below grade.  Vehicles at 9th and 11th entering Camino del Mar from the west side will be at a disadvantage as they try to enter the roundabout.
  4. Roundabouts should not be installed in tourist areas (from an expert planner with more than 35 years in urban planning both domestically and internationally.)  Much of the traffic on Camino del Mar is due to one-time use by tourists going to the beach and fairgrounds.  The roundabouts will be confusing as the tourist attempts to navigate the roundabouts and tries to figure out how to get to where they want to go.

The proponents cite Bird Rock as an example of better traffic flow.  The conditions in Del Mar as cited above and the reason traffic gets congested in Del Mar are totally different than the conditions in Bird Rock.   Camino del Mar becomes congested for the following reasons:

  1. The freeway just east of Del Mar becomes clogged due to rush hour and accidents.  The freeway is more than 3 miles from Bird Rock.
  2. Del Mar is just north of the major employment center of San Diego County – UTC, Sorrento Valley, UCSD and Torrey Pines Mesa.  Bird Rock is a long distance from downtown San Diego and UTC.  Many people who live in Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad would rather drive through Del Mar than on the freeway.
  3. The Del Mar Fairgrounds attracts more than 3 million visitors every year.  Bird Rock does not have such a tourist attraction close to it.
  4. The beaches in Del Mar attract over 1 million visitors every year.  The beaches at Bird Rock do not compare to Del Mar’s

Dave Druker, 10th Street  top


It reflects a careful balance of what is needed to encourage investment while protecting the community.

posted 10/19/12

I am concerned about the deception opponents to Prop. J are relying on to conduct their campaign. Rather than trust that you, the residents, can make a wise, informed choice, they are trying to withhold information, and scare you into voting “no” on Prop J.

They make untrue claims, like saying the Plan was written by outside developers and that the residents were not listened to. Not true. The city has been working on this specific effort for almost two years, and has supplemented their efforts with work from multiple ad hoc committees, with a  diverse and representative makeup, and numerous outside studies. 90 public meetings attempted to solicit residents’ concerns and perspectives. Every written comment was responded to, in writing, and incorporated where possible. It reflects a careful balance of what is needed to encourage investment in our community, which has been sorely lacking over the past two decades, while protecting the community from overdevelopment, loss of views, etc. In point of fact, several commercial property owners are against Prop J.  If the Plan really were a giveaway, wouldn’t they all be for it?

Opponents tell you that bypass traffic will worsen. Really?  Our traffic is terrible now, which the traffic study reinforced. The roundabouts are a proven solution that will ease the traffic flow and reduce bypass traffic. People on bypass streets should recognize this as an opportunity to finally fix a broken traffic system. Counterintuitive as it may seem, one lane with roundabouts is far more efficient and can handle traffic far better than our current configuration, with stop signs that force traffic into a standstill, create noise and pollution and are unsafe. The roundabouts will also help us achieve smart growth status as a city, which will allow us to qualify for a whole array of grants for which we are currently ineligible.

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Linda Rock, Zapo Street   top


It's not about the number of lanes; it's about getting rid of the stop signs.

posted 10/19/12

Why Proposition J is good for Del Mar

I notice a number of my friends in the city have signs opposing the Revitalization of Del Mar Proposition. I understand the long term tradition of opposing any suggestion to improving the downtown and traffic situation. However, in this instance, I believe the naysayers are misguided.

I hear three main concerns regarding the proposition:

  1. The plan provides for roundabouts that are accessed by single lanes. The concern being that traffic congestion will increase.
  2. What access will emergency vehicles have in the area
  3. Developers will destroy the ambience of the downtown area with the new parameters.

These three concerns can be relieved by reviewing the Village Specific Plan.

More specifically,

  1. The roundabouts actually improve the flow of traffic by 78%. This not only means less traffic congestion, but provides continuous movement at a slower and safer speed. The plan calls for Camino Del Mar to expand to two lanes as it approaches 15th Street.
  2. As one can see from the report, emergency vehicles will have no problem with the new plan due to the fact that there is a generous 9 foot "pull over" area for access. This will improve response times from what we have experienced in the past.
  3. There are adequate safeguards in place to monitor downtown development. Anyone who has attempted to build in Del Mar knows that the process is a lengthy one and will require Design Board approval of any view issues.

The plan was laid out by professionals with extensive input from citizens. It was approved unanimously by the counsel. Don't let false accusations determine your vote without getting the facts. I encourage you to go to the City of Del Mar website and see for yourself. I think you will find that this is a plan whose time has come.

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Scott Linton, Stratford Court   top


The roundabouts proposed for Del Mar are a smoke screen.

posted 10/19/12

The roundabouts proposed for Del Mar are a smoke screen.

"Pedestrian safety" is a cover.

Prop J DOES NOT implement the Del Mar Community Plan.

What Prop J does is the following:

  • Rezones the west side of Camino Del Mar from one story to two stories.
  • Allows 110 condos to be built on the west side of Camino Del Mar from 9th to 15th.
  • Erases Measure B which gives residents the vote on projects over 11,500 sq. ft. of development or on a lot of 25,000 sq. ft.
  • Forces traffic into residential neighborhoods.
  • Removes resident's control over our downtown for 30 years.

Three members of the city council sympathetic to developers can appoint members to the Planning Commission and Design Review Board who will "rubber stamp" anything that comes before them regardless of the number of residents who speak against it.

We need to keep Measure B in place.
Del Mar voters..Is this what we want?
Vote No on Prop J.

Ann Dempsey, Crest Road   top


At none of the meetings was the question asked: “How did it happen?”

posted 10/18/12

Prop. “J” supporters and opponents both agree: Most buildings in Del Mar’s Central Commercial Zone are in need of renovation. But there’s disagreement on how to incentivize commercial property owners to redevelop.

The City has conducted over 90 meetings, most of which were used to promote the Planning Department’s concepts. At none of the meetings was the question asked: “How did it happen?” How did Del Mar’s planning and design review process create world-class residential properties but fail in development of the downtown?

I think we all know. Since 1967 Del Mar has had an impossible parking ordinance, and for the last 25 years, City Councils have been unwilling to address the problem. Non-descript old buildings with little or no parking were given back-door permits for uses way beyond their ability to provide parking for those uses; and thus are not candidates for redevelopment. Del Mar’s current parking problem is empirical evidence that this happened.

If you’re driving from Del Mar to LA on Interstate 5, and the sign says “to San Diego” you must first acknowledge your mistake, and then turn around at the next off ramp.

Prop. “J” is a 500-page document that vests even more power in a Planning Department whose policy of issuing back-door permits to under-parked properties has failed. Yet instead of acknowledging their mistake . . . and establishing reasonable parking standards . . . their plan is to coerce commercial property owners to convert their private parking to public parking lots in return for reasonable (Sandag) parking standards. This not only violates Amendments 10 and 14 of the Constitution, it provides no net gain in parking. If my tenant’s parking spaces are given to the public, my tenants will simply park where the public is currently parking.

The City has basically enriched these under-parked restaurants by millions of dollars. Solving this problem will now require Del Mar residents to spend millions of dollars to build a public parking garage. The million dollars recently spent on drafting the Village Specific Plan would have better spent to hire an architect to design a public parking garage, or draft and publish a Request for Proposal to develop the City Hall property.

George Conkwright, Camino Del Mar   top


COPS Voter Guide "Endorsements" for Sale

posted 10/18/12

A COPS Voter Guide endorsement is prominently displayed on the Yes on J Facebook page. I did some internet research. COPS has no ties to local law enforcement or any official law enforcement agency. A quick internet search points to COPS being a paid mailer. Their endorsement is purchased, and their opinions are paid advertisements... (the same is true of the Budget Watchdogs mailer you may have received). Here are some results from my unscientific search:

From the California State Fair Political Practices (FPPC) website:

Slate Mailer Organizations are for-profit businesses that spend millions of dollars each election cycle encouraging people to vote for certain candidates and/or ballot measures. In many instances, committees representing candidates and ballot measures purchase space on a "slate mailer" as another way to influence voters. The more money a campaign spends on each slate mailing, usually equates to more room on the slate mailer profiling the candidate and/or ballot measure.

The list below identifies the Top Ten Slate Mailer Organizations that raised the most money during the 2007-08 election cycle.
Information compiled to create this list was obtained from public filings submitted by those slate mailer organizations registered with the Secretary of State.

  • CA Voter Guide (ID #595004) - $3,879,821
  • COPS Voter Guide (ID #599014) - $1,480,360

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Rick Ehrenfeld, 10th Street    top   


Do we want to throw away our options to vote? Not I.  I am voting No! on Prop J.

posted 10/18/12

Nowhere in election history in Del Mar or elsewhere do I recall the politicos having asked citizens to give up a long held voting right. Measure B is a resident driven ordinance that requires the city to allow residents to vote on large projects such as the currently proposed Village Specific Plan.  I am voting No! on Prop Jbecause it will void this right of ours.   

If Prop J passes council members will have the power vote to change zoning and other aspects of the plan beyond what the city has now proposed in the VSP.  In some instances the changes can be made with only three votes.  Do we want to throw away our options to vote? Not I.  I am voting No! on Prop J.

Follow the money to understand what is behind the 500 page city planning document and the hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money that the council has spent so far to push this project forward.  Commercial interests will profit by approximately $55,000,000 from the 110 residential units to be built along Camino del Mar.   And that’s just the beginning of the building.

Another minor detail, the proposal has no financial, no neighborhood traffic or parking plans. 

Karen Lockwood, Crest Road   top


The following organizations have endorsed Proposition J and urge you to VOTE YES ON J.

posted 10/17/12

The following organizations have endorsed Proposition J and urge you to VOTE YES ON J.

  • San Diego County Democratic Party
  • San Diego County Republican Party
  • San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
  • Walk San Diego
  • U-T San Diego
  • And, the San Diego “COPS Voting Guide”  says,
“Prop J will reduce both traffic congestion and emergency response times on Camino del Mar.  Vote yes on J.”

Listen to the advice of these impartial organizations, VOTE YES ON J

You should also know, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) promotes smart growth policies like those included in Proposition J.  Because of the Village Specific Plan, the Del Mar Village has been added to SANDAG’s “Listing of Smart Growth Areas” and is now on SANDAG’s Smart Growth Concept Map, along with Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, 12 other cities and San Diego County.

     click here for Smart Growth Areas

This means Del Mar now qualifies for the “Smart Growth Incentive Program,” funded by the regional Transnet half-cent sales tax, for up to $5 to $6 million per year in smart growth grants.  Let’s not lose this opportunity! 

Wayne Dernetz, 9th Street   top


I am confident that with a little (more) time reasonable minds can come to an agreement that a large majority of the populace can accept.

posted 10/17/12

Once upon a time, many years ago (well – 38 to be precise) the citizens of Del Mar gathered to write the Community Plan and dreamed the dream of a “pedestrian-oriented, economically viable downtown that serves the needs of both visitors and residents,“ a mantra that we repeat to this day while noticing that although some progress has been made, much remains to be done to make the dream a reality.

The Village Specific Plan (VSP) – also known as “Proposition J” on your November ballot, is a serious attempt to realize that dream. It pays close attention to the “economical viability” element of the Community Plan but many alert citizens have noticed that it gives short shrift to some other words that show up prominently in the old Plan: “low density”, “human scale” and “village character”, among others. It is hard to reconcile those words with a plan that almost doubles the amount of commercial space in the downtown area, as well as the allowable floor-area ratio (FAR), runs up building heights on the west side of CDM and introduces 110 residential units to the mix. And it is totally unclear in what way (other than a lot more bars and restaurants) a single square foot of the added commercial area (roughly the equivalent of 3 Plazas!) will be made to be “resident serving.”

The VSP is far-reaching and complicated to the point that reasonable minds can disagree. If, in fact, you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that reasonable minds ARE disagreeing. The City Council was warned by various knowledgeable people that this would be the case, that the community was split badly on this issue, that we needed more time to come together, but the Council, from its throne of omniscience, decided to throw the dice and put the issue on the November ballot.  Thank you, City Council.

The proponents of J would like you to believe that once the development genie is let out of the bottle, it can be shoved back in anytime in the future that it seems to be getting out of control.  The experience of those advocating NO on J is that you can never get that genie back in the bottle.

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Richard Simons, 11th Street   top


Please don’t let the fear mongering and false statements sent out by the “No” campaign determine the future of our village.

posted 10/16/12

I continue to be perplexed and disappointed by the “No on Prop J” materials we are being bombarded with this election season. Opponents of the measure keep referring to “developers” being behind Prop J, and to beware of the “slick marketing campaign” in favor of Prop J. These campaign materials are not telling the truth.  I am a second generation Del Marian. I am a young mom raising three boys in Olde Del Mar.  I serve on the City’s Planning Commission and the board of the PTA at Del Mar Heights Elementary. You might recognize me riding my bike with one of my sons to Brueggers or Stratford Café on a Saturday morning. It’s me, and people like me, who are behind Prop J. People who care deeply about the vitality of our beloved village and don’t want to see it decay and deteriorate while everything around us (Del Mar Highlands, Flower Hill, the City of Solana Beach etc..) continues to beautify and improve, taking businesses out of our city. Interestingly, I tried to post this on the “No” facebook page but it was promptly deleted and then I was blocked from posting anything further on that page. I guess Prop J opponents don’t want the facts to get in the way of their negative campaign message.

If you have done your homework, looked into what the plan entails, and decide not to vote for Prop J, I whole-heartedly respect your opinion and your vote. But please don’t let the fear mongering and false statements sent out by the “No” campaign determine the future of our village. Get the facts. A great place to start is at: www.ForDelMar.com.

Fellow residents of Del Mar, you should be proud of the process your City Council has completed over the past 2 years to draft, revise, and improve upon the Village Specific Plan that is now before you as Prop J. It is a well-thought out plan to revitalize our central commercial zone, and keep our town healthy and viable for the future – for the next generation. It is not backed by “developers” or a “slick marketing campaign.” It is supported by your friends, neighbors, and fellow residents that want to see our village thrive.

Yes on Prop J and Stop the Decay!

Lani Sipe Curtis, El Amigo Road   top


It places authority in the hands of developers to build over and beyond the 220,000 proposed square feet.

posted 10/16/12

I am not against Del Mar redevelopment or revitalization, however, I am strongly opposed to the VSP. It is grossly oversized and yet it places authority in the hands of developers to build over and beyond the 220,000 proposed square feet.

A court-tested CA “Density Bonus Law” allows qualified developers tobuild up to 135% of applicable local zoning regulations. For example,
construction of a project with a minimum of 10% low-income housing units would qualify for an automatic 20% density bonus.

We are a town of only 4,200+ residents yet we already have 30 restaurants, 6 hotels, and a 75,000 sq. ft. Plaza. Do residents really think
220,000 sq. ft. or more of additional development will have a beneficial effect on our town, property values, and quality of life? These numbers alone should inspire skepticism over how the VSP addresses parking, traffic, and the general congestion this plan would produce.

I would ask that new and long-time residents of Del Mar reflect on the reasons why you were attracted to our town in the fist place. We can preserve the best characteristics of Del Mar and move forward with revitalization - adoption of an appropriate plan for our community and with involvement of representative proportions of resident/business communities from its inception.

Charles Brinton, Luneta Drive   top


It is absurd to claim that residents will not have to pay for the $12 Million of infastructure costs.

posted 10/16/12

There are many good reasons to vote NO on Prop J in Del Mar.  I’m voting NO on Prop J for several key reasons: (1) one lane of traffic in each direction on Camino Del Mar may cause more spillover traffic into residential neighborhoods (this has been proven to be true for years in the North Beach area of the City); (2) it is absurd to claim that residents will not have to pay for the $12 Million of infastructure costs (we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch!); (3) there is no guarantee that any of the 110 residential units will be affordable, nor is there any guarantee that purchase money loans will be available to potential buyers once the units are built. There are too may problems with this Plan – vote No on Prop J.

Nancy Stoke, Coast Boulevard   top


Birdrock Roundabouts

posted 10/16/12

I just thought I would share a new You Tube video that I just ran across regarding the Birdrock Roundabouts.


Jen Grove, Executive Director Del Mar Village Association   top


The extra building proposed will cause huge traffic  congestion for several years.

posted 10/16/12

We are going to vote NO on Proposition J.  As long term Del Mar residents, we have seen increased cut-through traffic on our side streets and alleys, especially during the business hours , with frequent speeding and  failure to stop at STOP signs. It is hazardous to walk on the side streets as it is;  with cutting the Camino Del Mar traffic down to just one way each way, the cut-through traffic will only be increased.

Also, the disruption caused by construction costs on Camino Del Mar, if this round-a-bout plan is implemented, and the extra building proposed will cause huge traffic  congestion for several years.

Affordable housing is also a need in Del Mar,  By what criteria, in the plan, would it be decided as to what is “affordable”?   We believe this definite  need for affordable housing in Del Mar might be better addressed as an individual project.

Joe and Charlie Hoar, 13th Street   top

It is a fear of looking like every other crowded, congested same-type- of- architecture coastal community.

posted 10/16/12

I am writing to urge readers to vote no on Proposition J in the next election. I believe that many who have worked on/proposed this project are hardworking and sincere citizens who see,as I do, things that need change in our community. The ballot proposal is simply too far reaching.
I see the number of signs that are up which are against the proposition, and it seems clear that there was no good community consensus on all that is in this ballot proposal. In talking with neighbors, it seems clear the wide variety of concerns about the proposal have been inadequately addressed.
Residents have a fear of losing the unique small town feel of our village.  It is a fear of looking like every other crowded, congested same-type- of- architecture coastal community.  The "Vote no on J" people belong to both short- term and long -term residents in this community, in all age groups.
The roundabouts with a stoplight at 15th, no consideration of proximity to I-5 and the problems that occur when I-5 is backed up,or when the fairgounds is busy, the pedestrian hazards and the fear of increased response time in emergency situations are all of deep concern.
The unfair negation of Prop B so that residents lose voting rights for future development is a travesty .It portends an overgrowth of condos and townhouses and glitzy retail businesses which may not be supported in future economies,may not be wanted by the residents of Del Mar and will mainly benefit developers.
There is no reason why a future plan for our beautiful community cannot be approached in a piecemeal manner with sufficient input and information so that many in the community are not overruled and dismayed by our political process.
I urge a "no on J vote" .

Diane Salyer, Kalamath Drive   top


In a town replete with visitor-friendly retail, but without a pharmacy or hardware store, the plan carries no stipulation for residents’ needs.

posted 10/15/12

Like many a fair-minded citizen, I initially considered the VSP with optimistic
expectation. As it turns out, the plan is impressive, but not for the reasons I had hoped.
Proposition J impresses in its use of the ironic.
TIMING: Skittish banks, wary of lending, and reluctant consumers make this a risky
economic environment in which to embark on a project of this scale. Its intention to economically improve our town may very likely do just the opposite.

PROPERTY VALUES: Proponents of Prop J claim higher residential property values as an outcome of the plan. Del Mar, however, already enjoys the highest per sq. ft. residential value in our region, precisely because so many people yearn to live here.

Retaining our village atmosphere, not transforming us into yet another vehicle-laden shopping destination, is important to our distinctive quality of life.

PROPERTY OWNER PRIVILEGES: Del Mar’s current restrictive residential growth
policies are a vital component of our community’s values. And the residents, via
property taxes, have contributed the greatest line item revenue to the City of Del Mar.

Despite this, the VSP grants expansive building privileges to commercial property
owners with rights to 220,000 additional sq. ft. of space. The double irony is that in a town replete with visitor-friendly retail, but without a pharmacy or hardware store, the plan carries no stipulation for residents’ needs.

Finally, Del Mar is noted for its citizen activism, yet the VSP was devised in a top-down manner that did not incorporate citizens’ concerns. When Prop J fails, this will be its ultimate irony.

Join us in voting NO on Prop J.

Kathryn Brinton, Luneta Drive   top


When I try to envision that building in Del Mar, as this is the type of building proposed in this plan, I cringe.

posted 10/15/12

Keep Del Mar’s History and Charm: Vote “NO” on Proposition J
When people ask me where I live I answer “beautiful Del Mar”. Most people are envious as I am fortunate enough to live in a small piece of paradise known for its history and character. Our town is often called the “Village of Del Mar”. I am voting NO on Proposition J to retain the atmosphere of our friendly village, a place where residents can dine in one of our 26 restaurants, walk to local businesses and shops on uncrowned streets, visit our beaches, shop and enjoy the sense of history and charm found in Olde Del Mar.

Change is not a bad thing and I agree that changes needed to be made in Del Mar, especially for the current established business owners, but I must vote NO on Proposition J because this is not the right plan to do it. The changes proposed by Village Specific Plan are too encompassing, vague and broad. The plan will change building codes, traffic, parking, air quality, noise pollution, population numbers and more. There is no timeline and solid financial backing.  Why not fix what we all ready have and repair our sidewalks, bring back our street cleaners, provide adequate parking, control the drainage that continues to pollute our ocean and erode our cliffs, help the current property business owners, remodel our town hall and build on the history of Olde Del Mar?

I must vote NO on Proposition J because I don’t want Del Mar to look like Del Mar Highlands Mall or Encinitas. My fear is that this plan uses these projects as the models for the future vision of Del Mar. If passed, too much power will be given to the builders and future City Council members. The local residents will lose much of their voice in regards to height, square footage, views and density. When I visit Whole Foods in Encinitas, I try to envision that building in Del Mar, as this is the type of buildings proposed in this plan, I cringe.  I know this is not the style of giant buildings I want see built in Del Mar!

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Karla Leopold, 11th Street   top


Its major goal is to bring large numbers of new businesses and shoppers to down town Del Mar.

posted 10/15/12

I am going to vote No on Proposition J because its major goal is to bring large numbers of new businesses and shoppers to down town Del Mar. To attract this new business, Prop J would more than double the allowed FAR and promote 220,000 square feet of new construction in the town center, the equivalent of three additional Plazas. In my opinion this massive floor area increase, and its attendant problems, will significantly diminish Del Mar’s small town residential character; the result will likely be just another tourist-oriented beach town. I would prefer to continue to live in a quaint seaside village rather than another shopping destination.

George Webb, 10th Street   top


VSP approval is the key to unlocking federal, state and regional grants and loans not now available to us.

posted 10/15/12

The Village Specific Plan includes both policies and zoning regulations.  Zoning regulations are found in Chapter VI.  If Proposition J is approved by voters, these are immediately added to Del Mar’s Zoning Code. 

The VSP provisions for roundabouts and other Streetscape improvements are non-regulatory policies that guide the City Council toward implementing Community Plan goals.  The VSP is intended to implement Community Plan Goals 2 (“minimize impact of automobiles”) and 4 (“develop an economically viable, pedestrian friendly Village).

Before these improvements can be constructed, the Coastal Commission must approve the VSP; adequate and reliable funding sources identified; grant applications completed and approved; construction drawings prepared, prior to public bidding.  This will take three to five years. 

The original traffic design for the VSP did not include a 15th Street roundabout; it was added later in response to citizen recommendations.  After vehement protests from business owners, the Council removed 15th Street, stating it will be re-considered at a later date.  This was clearly a political decision. Part of the role of the City Council is to make such political judgments. 

The VSP is consistent with Community Plan Goals 2 and 4.  These Goals remain unfulfilled.  Yet, they are inter-twined.  One cannot be accomplished without the other.  VSP approval is the key to unlocking federal, state and regional grants and loans not now available to us. 

Vote YES on PROP J.

Wayne Dernetz, 9th Street   top


It would be unfortunate if the same fate befell businesses along Camino Del Mar.

posted 10/15/12

I plan to vote NO on Prop J in Del Mar for four main reasons: 1)  If Prop J becomes law, Del Mar residents will no longer have a vote on large scale development in downtown Del Mar. This is of particular concern in regard to the City Hall property and to the Post Office. The Postal Service announced in January 2012 that it will close and sell the La Jolla post office on Wall Street. If the Del Mar post office were also to be closed, the residents of Del Mar would have no vote on what was built on the property. It could be, for example, a two-story parking garage. 2) It would be very sad indeed if long-standing businesses such as the copy center, dog groomer and the next door sandwich shop, which does a brisk business at lunch time, were put out of business because the owner of the building decided to replace the buildings with large, two-story ones. 3) When roundabouts were installed in La Jolla, business at Bully’s South fell off to the point that the restaurant was closed. It would be unfortunate if the same fate befell businesses along Camino Del Mar. 4) Reducing Camino Del Mar to one lane each way, roundabouts or no, is likely to shunt even more through traffic as well as emergency vehicles onto residential streets such as Coast Blvd. and Stratford.

Linda Holland, Coast Boulevard   top


The light at 15th street came as a conciliatory measure to keep the shop owners interested in the idea.

posted 10/15/12

The addition of roundabouts and the reduction of one lane each way makes it very difficult to justify the supposed benefits of prop J.  I understand that the proponents of the proposition say that a smoother flow of traffic created by roundabouts would be more than enough to account for the two missing lanes. Assuming this is sound logic which I cannot fathom it to be, the light at 15th street would divisively kill any attempt at smooth traffic flow.  Furthermore, the light at 15th street came as a conciliatory measure to keep the shop owners interested in the idea. The fact that the Council continues to pursue the roundabouts knowing the effect a stop light will have, makes me question the motives of the Council members.  In short, the Council members have elected to take actions that they themselves accept as detrimental in order to calm already strong opposition.

Prop J adds 220,000 square feet of commercial and residential space which will dramatically increase the number of cars traveling through our town.  The extreme traffic congestion caused by single lanes and roundabouts will force most of the traffic onto alternate streets in our neighborhoods.  As a resident of Del Mar, I fight through traffic every day.  Knowing the reduction of one lane each way and roundabouts will cause further traffic jams and longer traveling times, is very upsetting.  I will be voting NO on Prop J

Sandy Anglin, Heather Lane   top


Traffic negatives trump any possible positives - NO on J.

posted 10/15/12

Over the past several weeks I have read all of the letters to the editor regarding Prop J with great interest.  I am perplexed that some of the writers believe that if Del Mar residents don’t like aspects of the plan, they should still just vote for it anyway and hope that the problems can be “tweaked” as time goes on.  There are certainly desirable aspects to the proposal, but none of them outweighs the one point I can’t accept:  Prop J means narrowing Camino Del Mar, a major thoroughfare -- one serving a racetrack/fairgrounds which draws tens of thousands of people into our community every year -- from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes, with roundabouts servicing side streets on steep inclines. And let’s not forget that the cars parked in the new diagonal parking spots have to back out into that ONE lane of traffic - how is that going to help traffic ?!  And what about pedestrians/tourists trying to safely cross this non-stop stream of traffic? I am not a traffic engineer, but I do think I have a fair amount of common sense - and this plan to narrow Camino Del Mar and put in traffic circles seems totally illogical to me.  I just don’t see how that can be overlooked as a HUGE obstacle to voting for the plan.  

Yes, downtown Del Mar needs revitalizing, but it’s just not realistic to think that by narrowing the main road through town we can create a “walkable community” for Del Mar.  That horse left the barn many decades ago.  Camino Del Mar is a major artery between La Jolla and the rest of North County, and it is one of the primary access routes to very large entertainment venue (the race track), a situation unlike Bird Rock and Leucadia Blvd., which are often sited as comparable areas with traffic circles.  That’s just a fact.  We cannot pretend we are an isolated small community with a local road running through it.   and below Camino Del Mar has to be concerned about the attendant potential for increased traffic, decreased quality of life, and damage to property values.

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Carol Arnold, 8th Street   top


If we narrow Camino del Mar to one lane in each direction it will divert even more traffic to our residential streets.

posted 10/15/12

Last Friday, I stood at the end of our driveway with my golden retriever, Beau, waiting to cross the street for our evening walk through Crest Rim Park. A solid stream of 21 cars flowed by from south to north, hurrying home and apparently oblivious to the fact that a pedestrian was waiting to cross the street. Not surprisingly, when we finally managed to make it to the east side of the street, I was able to see that traffic on I-5 north had slowed to a crawl.  Clearly, frustrated drivers had decided to travel through our residential streets rather than sitting in freeway traffic. This scenario occurs regularly, even though we finally have speed humps and chicanes, after 30 years of struggling to find a way to increase safety on our street by reducing traffic volume and speed.

I think that the plan to narrow Camino del Mar to one lane in each direction, with roundabouts replacing some stop signs, is a terrible idea that will inevitably divert even more traffic to our residential streets. Furthermore, I shudder to think how difficult it will be to evacuate our village if we ever again have a fire emergency. So, I will definitely vote against Proposition J and hope that you will, too.

Linda Chisari, Crest Road   top


If the Del Mar retail community is to survive in the years tocome we need to act now.

posted 10/15/12

Pacifica Del Mar has been a part of the Del Mar community for over 23 years. When I first heard of Proposition J I was skeptical. Roundabouts, height limits, construction, etc. all seemed to be problematic. As I listened to both sides, and became more educated on the subject, it struck me if not now, when? Del Mar has remained as is since the l¹Auberge and the Plaza were built a quarter of a century ago. Nothing really has happened in between. Proposition J is a chance to move into the 21st Century. The City of Solana Beach, The Del Mar Highlands, Flowerhill and el Paseo are moving ahead. If the Del Mar retail community is to survive in the years tocome we need to act now.

There will never be a perfect plan that satisfies everyone in Del Mar. Those of you who have been here for any length of time, many much longer than me know that, a perfect plan isn¹t going to happen.

The opponents of Proposition J are stating that business is great in Del Mar. It is not. Pacifica Del Mar and Pacifica Breeze Café sales are down $3,000,000 from 2009-2012 versus 2005-2008. We struggle every day to maintain our business. The Plaza is still suffering with what is now its 4th owner. One need only walk through the Plaza or up and down Camino Del Mar to see thereisn¹t much of anything to keep locals in town or bring tourism or folks that live east of 5 to Del Mar. Maybe that is what some locals want, to keep Del Mar for themselves, as is. I don¹t believe there are enough sales tax, TOT tax and other revenue to supplement property taxes to keep Del Mar thriving.

Proposition J will revitalize downtown for years to come. Del Mar deserves it and before you cast your vote either way you need to have an open mind, listen to both sides of the argument and not heed thescare tactics of those opposed to moving forward.

Vote YES on Proposition J to save Del Mar.

Kipp Downing, Proprietor, Pacifica Del Mar and Pacifica Breeze Cafe   top


The character and charm of a family friendly Del Mar that drew us all here will be destroyed.

posted 10/15/12

There are many reasons that I am voting NO. One reason is the poorly designed roundabouts with traffic lights on either end of a 6 block stretch.  This is bound to cause gridlock in the single traffic lane in each direction. The result of this will be cut through traffic using our residential streets to avoid the clogged CDM traffic lanes. There  will be the increase in emergency response time especially in the south part of town. There is the extraordinary increase in the proposed development in our very small town ( 220,000 additional square feet).  There is the increase in height from 14 feet to 26 feet on the west side of CDM that the 1976 Community Plan expressly prohibited. There is the glaring lack of a financial plan, a plan based on elusive promises from the Council.

The character and charm of a family friendly Del Mar that drew us all here will be destroyed.

This is only part of my laundry list of reasons. But I want to mention one issue that is extremely troubling. For almost thirty years I have been involved in our community. I have always worked for an open transparent government.  This plan hides some critical information within its 300 plus  pages and the Council has chosen not to inform us of these facts.

We are being told by proponents that with this plan the community will have control over   future development in the downtown. But  should J be approved after the people vote:

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Brooke Eisenberg-Pike, Hoska Drive   top


Why Won't the No on Prop J Group Debate the Issues?

posted 10/15/12

Whether you support or oppose Prop J in Del Mar, everyone agrees the choice voters make in November will have a big impact on our city’s future, favorably in my opinion.   So I was very disappointed to learn that opponents of Prop J have refused an invitation from the Del Mar Times to participate in a televised debate.  If opponents believe the claims they’ve made are factual and defensible, I assume they would welcome a chance to present them to interested voters.  The fact that leaders of the No on J  group refused to debate the issues should cause every undecided voter in town to question the credibility of opponents’ claims.  The City Council and the leaders of Yes on J gladly accept the invitation to debate and get the facts out. It appears, the No Group would prefer to ignore the facts and plant factually incorrect information in order to raise fear among residents. To me this is unconscionable in light of all the work that has been done (staff time and consultants), the public outreach program (90 pubic meetings) and the tax payer money expended ($500K+) to arrive at what I feel is a very balanced plan to revitalize the Village. 

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Howard Gad, Sandy Pointe   top


The pile up of cars will make already congested areas much worse.

posted 10/15/12

Trying to access Camino Del Mar from either the west or east side of this major thoroughfare will be impossible.

Passage of Prop J will cause excessive traffic congestion and the stacking up of cars at the end of each street coming down the hill or up from the other side, waiting for a turn to get into the flow of traffic. Think of the air pollution that will be caused from idling cars as well as the added congestion on residential streets.

If one thinks the access will be any easier or quicker going to the signal at 15th street, the pile up of cars there will make already congested areas much worse.

Listen to our former Fire Chief, Jack Gosney. Response time for emergency vehicles will be slowed considerably....how can any of us vote for that?


Marnie Mahoney, Crest Road   top


Adding 220,000 square feet of commercial and residential space will reduce the charm of Olde del Mar.

posted 10/15/12

I am voting "No" on Prop J because I feel allowing a second story on the west side of Camino del Mar will cut off the views of the ocean, sky and trees.  Plus adding 220,000 square feet of commercial and residential space will reduce the charm of Olde del Mar.

I don't see that there is any guaratee that the retail space envisioned in Prop J will be resident serving.  And there is no guarantee that any of the 110 residential units will be affordable.

Susan Frazar, 15th Street   top


The two reasons I find most troublesome are:

posted 10/15/12

Among many other reasons that I oppose Prop. J, the two I find most troublesome are: 1) Proposition  J would override the provisions of  Prop B, formally known in the Municipal Code in Chapter 30.54 as the Overlay Zone: Downtown Initiative (DI OZ). (Click here ). This voter-approved ordinance prohibits large developments without a vote of our residents.
With the nullification of Prop B, the public will have no further say in what happens to our downtown except to the extent the Council may be willing to listen to us. If we have a pro-development Council as we do now, there will be no way to stop major developments and our little village will be gone forever.  2) While the 10-feet wide sidewalks--outlined as part of the traffic plan in the VSP--look appealing, nothing has yet been designed, as was pointed out each time questions were asked at the open meetings.  If one looks at the illustrations in the publicity materials for the VSP, those 10-foot wide sidewalks accommodate landscaping, benches, pedestrians and continuous sidewalk cafes, just as our once very wide sidewalk on the south side of 15th Street does.

With 45,000 square feet reserved for new restaurants, what will become of our village? Who says the VSP isn't primarily for developers?

Sarah Dubin-Vaughn, Pine Needles Drive   top


Reality based thinking tells me to Vote NO on Prop J.

posted 10/15/12

1.  Before you cast your vote, ask yourself this question: When you first came to Del Mar what made you want to make it your home?  For me, it was that quaint, laid-back village that was a throw back in time. A place that was different than any other I had ever been. That feeling is something that most of us have in common in choosing this place to live. Our village is what keeps bringing new residents to our seaside town. Let’s not destroy our village in the name of more commercial development.
2.  Prop J covers an area on Camino Del Mar from 15th Street to 9th Street – a six block area along our only road in and out of town.  Look what Prop J has in store for our residents who want to protect their quality of life:
A.  220,000 square feet of new commercial space, 48,000 of which is reserved for new restaurants (and bars within those restaurants). We presently have 20 full service restaurants along CDM.  Do we really want 20 more restaurants in this small area? If you believe so, what about the trucks that service those areas, including the trash trucks that pick up the smelly rotten food every two days or so?  What about the late night partiers who have to walk to their cars during residential sleeping hours? Is that what we want as residents who have to put up with all of this?

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Hershell Price, Grand Avenue   top


We locals should keep our voting rights.

posted 10/15/12

I am going to vote NO on Prop J in Del Mar because of the EIR’s input about increased pollution, because parking issues are not resolved (or paid for) so our side streets will become more congested and unsafe, and because Camino Del Mar and 15th Street could become canyon-like strips of higher buildings – (perhaps with more patios with plastic orange chairs and tacky umbrellas like we now have on our most prominent, once charming Plaza corner. Does that reflect the DRB’s taste and influence?)

No thank you. I think we locals should keep our voting rights and tackle growth issues one by one as we have so successfully done over the years.

Susan Schneider, Luneta Drive   top


Smokescreens for the real purpose of Prop J

posted 10/15/12

Roundabouts, sidewalks and low-cost housing are only smokescreens for the real purpose of Prop J.  The  real aim of this mishmash of rationalization, rules and design elements is to effectively remove public input into future development proposals.  That's why talked about redesign of the Starbuck's and City Hall sites, among others, is just talk at this point. The developers don't want to face the kind of public review presently required for large projects. They must have big things in mind. Let's keep our Village a Village. Don't let it become a shopping mall. No on J!

Barbara Stegman, Oribia Road   top


Prop J will replace the residents’ ability to have a vote.

posted 10/15/12

We are going to vote NO on Prop J in Del Mar for various reasons, two being that Prop J will replace the residents’ ability to have a vote on large scale development in downtown Del Mar, and it gives too much power to developers and future City Councils.

Dave and Jan Ulrey, 13th Street   top


Roundabouts combined with traffic lights will not stop bottlenecks.

posted 10/15/12

I am a longtime resident of Del Mar who is against Prop J for several reasons. Traffic concerns are foremost in my mind. In my opinion, the plan to change a large section of Camino del Mar to one lane makes no sense. During last weekend's "Del Mar Taste & Art Stroll, I noticed impatient drivers using parallel side streets (in residential neighborhoods) to avoid the hassle of the temporary lane closures, and one only has to look north to the traffic on 101 in Solana Beach during current construction to get an idea of what kind of slowing and bottlenecks will occur in Del Mar if Prop J is approved. Roundabouts combined with traffic lights will not stop bottlenecks.

Karl Newmeyer, El Amigo Road   top


Height increases on the the west side of Camino Del Mar will significantly impact the beauty and charm of the city.

posted 10/15/12

There are many reasons to vote "No" on Prop J. For me, as a homeowner in the wonderful community of Del Mar for almost two decades, it is that height increases (adding second stories) on the the west side of Camino Del Mar will significantly impact the beauty and charm of the city. My family from Missouri visits often, and they were here last month. In my brother's words, "My favorite thing is to wake up and walk the ten blocks from our hotel to the cafe on 15th Street for breakfast, taking in the sights, smells, and atmosphere of the ocean the whole time." When I told him about what would happen to height allowances if Prop J were to be passed, he just looked at me incredulously, and said "Why on earth would anyone voluntarily destroy ocean views?" I don't know the answer to this, but I do urge a "No" vote on Prop J to protect an aspect of Del Mar that's enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Mary Lee Moser, El Amigo Road   top


I have concluded that the VSP has fallen short of its potential and my expectations.

posted 10/15/12

The VSP (Prop J) was created through the hard work of many.  It has been a great academic exercise with public participation, and many of its ideas are good ideas that should be implemented in the future.   I stand committed to downtown revitalization and worked on a similar plan in the Form Based Code Committee, attended many neighborhood meetings on the VSP, and met one-on-one with city staff.  I worked in every way to make the VSP as “good as it could be.”  After re-reading the entire VSP document, I have concluded that the VSP has fallen short of its potential and my expectations. Del Mar does not have the luxury of a separation between the commercial and residential properties, making it imperative that we develop a downtown that is compatible with and sensitive to neighboring residential activities.  The VSP is an extremely complex document that will benefit commercial property owners but will have an enormous, lasting and negative impact on our residential community and quality of life. 

Many of the promises of the VSP are wishful thinking - predicated on obtaining grants or hoping the VSP incentives entice developers - they are only “possibilities” under the VSP.  The only guarantee in the VSP is larger, more intense development. Some of the negative impacts are the unintended consequences of well intentioned planning.  Other negatives result from the lack of a defined sequencing of development – e.g. there is no requirement that traffic and parking (roundabouts, garages) be dealt with prior to larger, commercial development under the VSP.  The VSP mentions paid parking downtown as a source of funding for the garage – ideas like this have not been thoroughly vetted – what will it mean to businesses, and to the residential neighborhoods?  There may be a specific plan in our future, but this document is not right for Del Mar, and I urge everyone to join me in voting “No on J.”

Rick Ehrenfeld, 10th Street   top


"Facts” or Opinions?

posted 10/14/12

There has been a lot of vitriol recently from proponents of the Village Specific Plan (VSP, aka Proposition J on the November 6 ballot) about Del Mar citizens who believe that the VSP, as currently designed, is not in the interest of the City, their neighbors or themselves.

The proponents and, disturbingly, the ballot statement itself which was written by the City Attorney cite a series of unproven “facts” that they hope will convince you to vote for the VSP. These “facts” are that the VSP will reduce traffic congestion, increase pedestrian safety, increase property values, protect ocean views, improve city revenues, protect residential streets, reduce air pollution, etc.

Unfortunately, the proponents know very well that their assertions aren’t “facts”. They are opinions.  A fact is something that has been tested, verified, and shown to be true. The only way to prove that the Prop J assertions are true is to make the changes, test their impact, and show that congestion, safety, property values, revenues, air pollution, etc. have improved. Short of that kind of testing, the claimed “facts” are merely the proponents’ opinions and they have no more weight than yours or mine.  

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Frank Chisari, Crest Road   top


The Taste & Art Stroll should not be used as a political opportunity to kill the very fabric of our community.

posted 10/13/12

It has come to the attention of the Del Mar Village Association (DMVA)  that members of the  No on J Campaign have posted on Facebook and on other media outlets that the Traffic Plan during the Taste & Art Stroll on Sunday, October 7 was an illustration of the traffic impacts that will result from the implementation of Proposition J.  This is completely and utterly without any basis in fact.  In fact, the Taste & Art Stroll is an illustration of how stop signs do not work in Del Mar village.

The Taste & Art Stroll had over 100 continuous artist booths spanning from 15th Street to 11th Street along the southbound lanes of Camino del Mar, along with several bands and children's activities.  Due to safety concerns with the artist booths on the closed sections of Camino del Mar along with this special event that brings in thousands of resident and visitor pedestrians, the Traffic Management plan required closure of all arterial roads to Camino del Mar in both east and west directions, (closed arterial streets included 15th Street, 14th Street, 13th Street, 12th Street and 11th Street).  Since this was a temporary road closure for a special event that included a diversion from a single lane to a double lane at 15th and 11th Streets, the Traffic Management Plan included hard traffic stops at the intersections of 15th, 13th and 11th Streets.  

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Jen Grove, Executive Director Del Mar Village Association    top


Do Your Homework on Prop J

posted 10/12/12

As a resident of Del Mar with businesses in Del Mar, I believe Prop J is extremely important for the following reasons:

Important elements in designing the L’Auberge were VISION, a vision of the completed resort, FINANCIAL FEASIBILITY as an investment, and COMMUNITY BENEFITS.  Most will agree, the vision was realized, the investment is sound and the multiple community benefits will continue forever.  The benefits include over $1 million dollars in room taxes and another million plus in property and sales taxes annually for residential services.

The VISION for Del Mar is the 1975 Community Plan, designed to achieve a pedestrian friendly, vibrant downtown as the economic base, social and cultural center of the village.  A beautifully landscaped village with wider tree lined sidewalks, outside dining, unique shops and businesses to better serve our residents, similar in charm to the small villages of Europe.  The second goal is to minimize the impact of the automobiles on Del Mar and the third goal to preserve the residential small town atmosphere as a village.

Prop J provides the tools to finally achieve our 1975 community plan goals.  A vital and necessary element of Prop J is the roundabouts to minimize the impact of the automobiles on our village.  For a walkable community, the residents and pedestrians have to be favored over the automobile.  The quiet, charming, small town atmosphere we all desire can never be achieved with a four lane raceway taking precedence over the pedestrian.

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Jim Watkins, Camino Del Mar   top


Comparing Traffic Management for the Taste/Walk Event on October 7 to Prop J 

posted 10/11/12

Opponents of Prop J gleefully stretch facts in comparing traffic management practices at last Sunday’s Taste/Walk event to their imaginary parade of horrors under Prop J’s two-lane and roundabouts plan.  (see below)  Once again, they are way off base. 

Last Sunday’s traffic management plan closed 15th Street to both east- and west-bound traffic, at Camino del Mar.  Also closed were east- and west-bound traffic along 13th, 12th, and 11th streets.  Northbound Camino del Mar beach traffic was diverted to Stratford at 9th Street.  Northbound St. Peters’ traffic and beyond was diverted to Luneta at 9th Street.  THOSE CLOSURES caused overflow traffic along Stratford and Luneta, NOT two-lane traffic along Camino del Mar.

Liz and I travelled south-bound on Camino del Mar Sunday at 1 PM, at the peak of the Taste/Walk event, from Coast Blvd to 9th Street.  At 15th Street, we were stopped 3 minutes to allow heavy pedestrian traffic to cross.  As we proceeded southbound onto the Camino del Mar diversion lane, we moved smoothly and continuously, arriving at 9th Street exactly three minutes later.  Making full stops at 13th and 11th Streets and waiting for the left-turn signal at 9th Street takes more than three minutes! This is actual experience, not speculation. 
Vote YES on Prop J!

Wayne Dernetz, 9th Street


NO on J has chosen to attack a community event

posted 10/11/12

This is what was posted on Facebook today [Oct 8].  Please note the comment "Does the Art Stroll do enough for the residents to endure the pain?"  I am saddened that the No on J Campaign has chosen to attack a community event and perhaps destroy downtown events for everyone in our community. 

Jen Grove, Luneta Drive


"Does the Art Stroll do enough for the
residents to endure the pain?"

Facebook 10/07/12 - Sandpiper 10/11/12 

Dave Druker, 10th Street



Proposition J is for all generations of residents! 
In response to Ms. Wadia's letter to the Sandpiper dated 10/04/12 

posted 10/11/12

I moved to Del Mar with my family when I was 15 years old.  I attended Torrey Pines High School when it was surrounded by dirt roads and called North City West.  I moved away, attended college and graduate school, married and had 3 daughters and I moved back to Del Mar 11 years ago to be in the town that I love.  My 74 year old father still lives up the street from me and my parents in-law live part-time in Del Mar also.  We have 3 generations of Del Mar residents in our house on a daily basis.  We know first hand what it is like to live  in Del Mar spanning multi-generations.  

Our family loves the restaurants, cafes, services and shops in Del Mar.  Some member of our family can be seen on a daily basis at one of more of the downtown businesses.  However, we know that the south end of town near our home is in serious decay.  Camino del Mar is impossible to cross safely at anytime of day, traffic is terrible due to the stop signs, there is not a continuous sidewalk, there are not any public spaces or interesting architecture (with the exception of Cafe Secret), the open storefronts have turned into tattoo parlors, and telemarketing businesses.   Proposition J is not about creating a tourist/party town.  Proposition J is about creating a town with renewed life for multi-generations of residents and visitors.  

In answer to your question, the Grove/Coppo family of Del Mar (all 8 of us with Moms, Dads, grandparents and kids) would like to see Proposition J/the Village Specific  Plan implemented to help downtown Del Mar improve and serve the needs of the residents and visitors alike.  Del Mar has a the option of continuing to decay or improve.  We would like to see Del Mar step proudly into the 21st Century and sustain itself as a beautiful seaside community for all generations.  

Jen Grove, Luneta Drive   top


I find the rhetoric of the pro Prop J proponents to be rather divisive.

posted 10/08/12

Though I see both the pros and cons on Prop. J, I find the rhetoric of the pro Prop. J proponents to be rather divisive.  In their latest mailer they accuse the "No on J" residents of Del Mar of deception and falsehoods (another word for lies) and call their claims inaccurate and dishonest.  

The "No on Prop J" residents of Del Mar include many former mayors and council members as well as both new and long time residents of our city.  If voters hold a different view are they liars, dishonest and deceptive?  By contrast, are the supporters of Prop. J the bearers of gospel truth?  

To demonstrate that there are other legitimate and ethical perspectives, I will present the other point of view on the 7 items the pro Prop. J people have raised in their latest mailer.  

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Maneck Wadia, Luneta Drive   top



posted 10/08/12

I address this to you, the elderly people in Del Mar Village, who have been told why you should vote No on Prop J with scare tactics.  Read my story and decide for yourself, do you believe in “Imaginary-Gates” in Del Mar?

I was born in Del Mar, 85 years ago, September 9, 1927.  My parents came to Del Mar for a visit in May of 1919 with my 2-older brothers.  Mom fell in love with Del Mar and on August 19, 1919 they moved to the village.  They rented a house, Dad went to work in construction, Mom gave birth to 4 additional children, including me. 

My mother’s dream was to buy a lot and have her brother build their house.  Even with six kids, my mother found time to earn extra money by catering Mexican food for the parties held by the very wealthy.  She also gave sewing classes to young girls and did seamstress work.  All of this work was so that my mother could have her dream lot in Del Mar.  ...

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Tensia Moriel Trejo, Cuchara Drive   top


I find Mr. Sinnott’s article in favor of Propositon J misleading and disingenuous.

posted 10/08/12

I find Mr. Sinnott’s article in favor of Propositon J misleading and disingenuous, specifically with respect to the issue of roundabouts, paragraph 8 of his article.

Mr. Sinnott does not tell the reader that the stop light at 15th street will remain in place.  Roundabouts work on the basis of continuous flow, no impediments like a traffic signal.  With the light at 15th street remaining, traffic will back up through all of the roundabouts resulting in grid lock.  Traffic will not “flow smoothly while reducing noise and accidents.”  In fact, in high traffic conditions (like the Fair, racing season or congestion on Interstate 5) the infinitely long single line of cars and trucks will be sitting and idling.  Furthermore, as the roundabouts fill with cars, no crossing or turning traffic will flow … more grid lock.

Also not mentioned by Mr. Sinnott, or in fact by any other proponent of Proposition J, is the fact that the City of Del Mar does not have the money to implement anything proposed.  The “plan” is to apply for Federal and State aid, for which there are no guarantees.  Didn’t the State of California just take redevelopment monies from cities to “balance” its budget?  Whenever a political entity says a proposal “will not cost the taxpayers anything,” it is a virtual certainty that the taxpayers will get the bill.  Of course, the politicians that initiated the proposal will have departed and the new politicians will have the excuse “we did not approve the proposal” but “we are responsible for paying for it.”

While most people support the objectives of the Village Specific Plan, the Plan is fundamentally flawed as was the process for its adoption.

Richard L. Anglin, Heather Lane   top


Vote NO on Prop J.

posted 10/08/12

As I canvass Del Mar voters to talk about Prop J, I’m finding that people don’t like the huge amount of development or the single lane planned for Camino del Mar. Most people plan to vote No on Prop J. There are several recurring questions confounding most residents.

People seem perplexed about “Who is pushing so hard to redevelop so much of our little village?”  The answer is complicated but ultimately an unholy trinity of people including 1) those who think that changing Camino del Mar to one lane with roundabouts will solve all of our traffic problems, 2) a group of developers and commercial property owners who lust after the revenues of at least $55 million from the sale of 110 residential units and 3) a city council that directed staff and experts to “Go Big.” ...

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Dave Druker, 10th Street   top


J is a jumble of many different bits, rather unrelated to each other and without a coherent way to pay for the whole.

posted 10/08/12

I write to ask my fellow Del Mar residents to vote NO on Proposition J either in their absentee ballots now or in person on November 6. There are many things to like in Proposition J and many more things to not like. J is a jumble of many different bits, rather unrelated to each other and without a coherent way to pay for the whole.

My primary problem with J, and that of my many neighbors on streets like Stratford, Luneta, and Crest, is that there is no carefully structured plan for dealing with the inevitable flow of traffic from Camino del Mar to these parallel but residential neighborhood streets. J says reassuring words about addressing the problem when it occurs but does not not describe potential solutions in advance. ...

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Henry Abarbanel, Crest Road   top


Neighborhood Impacts and Prop J

posted 10/05/10

As noted in Section 3.8.1 of the Village Specific Plan “The residential neighborhoods adjacent to the existing commercial area experience a variety of adverse impacts… which may include noise from the restaurant patrons and deliveries as well as traffic and parking encroachments onto residential streets.” Our neighborhoods are impacted by noise from delivery trucks as early as 5am, loud bar patrons at 2am, illegal parking by delivery trucks and usage of the residential areas for parking by commercial patrons. Before we add another 220,000 SF of commercial space, we need to address and control the existing impacts. Prop J does nothing to address the neighborhood concerns listed above and will exacerbate the problems. It is unfortunate that our City Council did not try to proactively address these impacts as part of Prop J.

Ted Middleton, Stratford Court   top


Del Mar’s Village Revitalization Plan – Voter Approval of Proposition J

posted 10/04/10

I was shocked to read the most recent Facebook post by opponents of Del Mar's Prop J - the Village Specific Plan.  In response to facts posted by Prop J supporters, opponents announced that their Facebook page “is not intended to be a dialog between proponents and opponents” so they are now erasing all public comments that don't further their cause.  This exclusionary philosophy on a public Facebook page where anyone can view and comment is counter to the spirit of the social media paradigm . If opponents really believe the facts are on their side, why are they censoring all comments by Prop J supporters?  As I’ve read the claims by opponents, it is pretty clear to me they are relying on misinformation and falsehoods.  That would explain why they want to avoid a dialog based on facts on the plan.

Hundreds of Del Mar residents volunteered thousands of hours helping develop the Village Specific Plan.  Ninety public meetings were held over a two year period to obtain public input and make adjustments to the plan. It was unanimously approved by our Planning Commission and City Council. The biggest benefit of this plan is a reduction in traffic congestion on Camino del Mar.  So it’s quite disappointing that opponents of the plan are misrepresenting these provisions.  Proposition J will increase the carrying capacity of Camino del Mar from 900 vehicles per hour to 1,600 vehicles per hour, a  78% increase in traffic flow with a consequent reduction in congestion.  Less congestion means less spill-over traffic in our neighborhoods.  

The Friends of Revitalization (FOR) will be challenging opponents of Prop J to a televised debate with three representatives from each side addressing the issues. An impartial moderator will craft and ask the pertinent questions.  Dates and times to be determined. Please get the facts by going to www.fordelmar.comVote Yes on J and Stop Village Decay!

Howard Gad, Sandy Pointe   top


We would find it difficult to view Del Mar as the place to raise a family, rather than a tourist/party town.

posted 10/04/10

As a forty-five year resident of Del Mar, plus two years in Carmel Valley, my main concern with the VSP is that of a mother and grandmother.  Like most Del Mar citizens we are strongly family oriented.  Our present population, by census, is around 4,000 residents; add another 500 or so who come here seasonally.  

We presently have about 35 eating facilities, many of them with bars.  I find it somewhat disconcerting that if we have a major influx of restaurants and bars, far beyond the needs of our small community, we would find it difficult to view Del Mar as the place to raise a family, rather than a tourist/party town.

Do we really want to raise our children and grandchildren in a town that we presently have, with some modest changes to improve our city hall and certain areas, or in a city with drastic changes, many new restaurants and bars and commercial developments that will mainly serve tourists? 

Harriet Wadia, Luneta Drive   top


For Del Mar residents questionable benefits dictate, “ No on Proposition J.”

posted 10/04/12

For Del Mar residents questionable benefits dictate, “ No on Proposition J.” Property owners will be enabled to build taller and larger with more floor space for more occupants and Del Mar residents will be able to attain the ambience of a large city and/or shopping center. A quick analysis of the benefits of Proposition J yields the canyonization of Camino Del Mar, an increase in the number of bars, restaurants, gift shops and boutiques, increased traffic congestion, parking, noise and air pollution spreading into residential neighborhoods and financial costs to the city.

A viable alternative, the Camino Del Mar Streetscape Plan which evolved from extensive city-wide participation is in existence and has been implemented in part. It is much closer to Del Mar’s way of doing things and is without the dubious benefits of Prop J.

Pat and John Giebink, Stratford Court


We should be voting “YES”, but let me tell you why we are voting “NO."

posted 10/03/10

Your “YES” vote on Del Mar Prop J could mean an immediate tripling in the value of the land under our commercial property at 11th & CDM.  How so?

The value of commercial property, unlike residential, is based on the return on the investment.  Rental income is based on the floor area of building rented.  Since the floor area ratio currently on our property is only 29%, Prop J would allow an increase in the FAR to at least 100% - an increase of 245%.  

We should be voting “YES”, but let me tell you why we are voting “NO”.

We have lived immediately next door to our commercial property since 1964, and we believe the planned changes to the downtown will destroy the small scale livability we have enjoyed in Del Mar, lower the value of our home and be bad for business.

We believe changes to the main street would create more havoc there and on our side street, with whatever traffic and parking solutions they might provide.  There is call for more restaurants along the entire 6 blocks, creating more smells, rats, late night noise, etc.

We can live with whatever replaces this proposed Plan.  VOTE “NO” ON PROP J.

Ralph Peck, 11th St   top


Open letter on the Village Specific Plan for revitalization: It’s time for Del Mar to take control of its future.

posted 09/29/12

As residents, former council members and mayors, we have been involved with efforts to restore our downtown to meet the objectives outlined in the community plan of 1976.  There has been a great deal of community input and discussions over the years, with plan after plan created and subsequently shelved.  The time for planning is over.  We finally have a well thought out document, the Village Specific Plan, that uses creativity, balance, new opportunities and citizen-inspired changes to build a plan that will slowly and carefully improve the quality of life for everyone in Del Mar. 

We have heard many comments about the plan from neighbors, and they vary widely depending on personal interest and perspective. Will everyone like every piece of the plan? Of course not. That never happens in Del Mar. Is there something positive for everyone in the plan? We think there is: better pedestrian experiences, safer traffic flow, better opportunities for resident serving businesses, and increased parking availability to name just a few. ...

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Richard Earnest, Former Councilmember & Mayor
Crystal Crawford, Former Councilmember & Mayor   top


Response to Lani Sipe Curtis, letter to the editor dated September 20, 2012

posted 09/29/12

Lani speaks for young families raising kids in Del Mar when she states "as young moms, we are busy changing diapers, carpooling kids or organizing snack dute, so we are not always heard on political matters."  However, Lani goes on to say "we care deelply about the future because this is the town our kids are going to experience, interact with and grow from." 

I too grew up in Del Mar.  My son and I both work in Del Mar and agree, as most young families do, that Del Mar desperately needs revitalization.  It is long overdue and Prop J is the best way to achieve what was envisioned in the 1975 Community Plan.  A beautifully landscaped, walkable village with tree lined streets, wider sidewalks, outdoor dining, improved traffic flow, added parking, new areas and places for families to gather as the the social and cultural center of our community.  Prop J will make this enviroment possible, which will enhance property values, and attract new businesses to better serve our families, plus revitalize the city's economic base.  Without the passing of Prop J, it's simply further decay.  I would encourage all you families to vote yes on Prop J for the good of their children's future.

KC Vafiadis, Camino Del Mar   top


To the Editors:

posted 08/08/12

I attended the 7-30 city council meeting, the results of the slanted survey were discussed, the findings showed the plan to be pass or fail within the margin of error. The consensus seeming for a postponment till 2013  or later.

I find it interesting with all the time and money spent,  a demonstration project was not planned, no questions were asked about the cost of the plan, roundabouts and developing one lane, both in Project hard costs and loss in sales tax income.

Should not the voters decide if the cost when revealed, could be better spent on the bettering, beautifying the existing layout, or on a downtown Encinitas approach, say with allowing the development density increases and allocate where the new parking will be designated? Certainly  a valid areas for voter discussion.

Dennis Mulligan, 7th Street   top


To the Editors:

posted 07/19/12

I appreciate the work and effort done by the planners bringing forth the proposed Village Plan, but the plan is an overreach, having the potential to destroy the village we have all come to love and enjoy.


(1) Traffic has to move through Del Mar. It is apparent that four lanes are better than two.
(2) Roundabouts are not safe for a heavy mix of pedestrians and motor vehicles, they pit the pedestrian vs car.  The traffic light is still the best for safety, giving a definite, when to stop, and when to go.
(3)  Raising the building height to 26 feet west of El Camino Real will destroy views, especially just north of the hotel and plaza.
 (4)  The plan is based in favor of business.  Lets remember, Del Mar is a good place to live, don`t lose it.

William D. Daniel, Luneta Drive   top


La Jollaization of Del Mar?

posted 07/08/12

Look around and envision your future, your neighborhood and your village. Major changes to the Del Mar’s Adopted Community Plan have been proposed that have the potential to significantly alter our downtown. Call it revitalization or redevelopment; our main street may soon be transformed in ways that will redefine the character of Del Mar.

The Proposed Plan (the Village Specific Plan or VSP) calls for rezoning the “core downtown” east and west side of Camino del Mar to allow 1.0 to 1.5 (with a bonus for Exceptional Public Benefits) FAR and 26’ buildings on the west side, which could increase the amount of building area by as much as 320,000 sq ft., including residential (138 condos), hotel (43 rooms), retail (~100,000 sq ft.), and restaurants (~33,000 sq ft. or ~ 20 new restaurants). This would contribute more traffic. The Proposed Plan could introduce as many as1, 500+ cars a day but has little discussion of where these 1,500 cars would park. (There are currently 2,581 public and private parking spaces in the village center).   ...

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Justin Kulongoski, Amphitheatre Drive   top


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