Nancy Fisher | 24th Street and Bud Emerson | Klish Way
Measure R is so poorly crafted that many residents (including such historical advocates of the residents as City Council Member and attorney Dwight Worden) are convinced that its provisions conflict with state laws, our own ordinances, Measure B, and other Specific Plans. It’s also written so broadly that it could lead to requiring future votes on issues that most residents would not want to bring to the trouble and expense of a vote.
These conflicts could easily lead to various court actions and require significant public funds to be expended to defend the city’s interests. And there is a strong possibility, put forward by Council Member Worden that, as a result, zoning decisions could be mandated by the court, thereby producing the exact opposite of our agreed objective, local decision making.
Let’s be clear. Although we’re all in favor of Del Mar citizens having the right to vote on major changes in our community, including the Watermark Specific Plan (if it gets approved by the City Council), Measure R is a reckless way to achieve this. It’s way too big a stick for the perceived problem and will cause us unnecessary, self-inflicted harm and expense, since we already have numerous checks and balances in our governmental system, including the rights of citizens to trigger a vote if decisions are thought to be against the community’s interests.
Del Mar has a well-earned reputation for having rigorous review processes for all new developments, including proposals for a Watermark Specific Plan. Every project must go through our Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and City Council with numerous opportunities for public input. In fact there has been no decision on the Watermark proposal. It is still in the early stages of this formal process including the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). And already the planners are making significant reductions in the proposal as a result of community and DRB input—an encouraging sign that our process is working even at this early stage.
The final check will still be available to citizens if and when Watermark gets Council approval. That decision can be brought to the ballot box by a simple referendum of 10% of Del Mar voters.
All of this can be accomplished by the rules we now have within Del Mar. There is absolutely no need to adopt a new set of rules in Measure R that have dubious legality and would involve many other entities outside of our community.
Please do not vote for the “Power to the People” cry without researching the downside of Measure R. Let our system work as it has so well for all the decades of our cityhood, without additional, and completely unnecessary expense to us all.