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EDITORIAL: Little Big City

We may be the smallest city in the region but our large visitor population moves us to plan and operate as a much larger entity. It is a critical challenge to balance our core residential quality of life with visitor expectations to enjoy it with us. Most of what we have done to fulfill the Community Plan vision of small town life is exactly what has made us an appealing destination for visitors and new residents alike. Most of our community conversations involve us taking care to preserve that balance for now and well into the future.

Del Mar is very busy these days working on a number of change efforts that reflect our careful balancing of growth and preservation.

The biggest change is our new civic center complex, now on time and on budget, which promises to energize the southern end of town. Soon after we will settle on a new design for Shores Park nearby at 9th street which will likely balance green open space, recreational uses, and expanded or new indoor multipurpose spaces, along with some shared uses with the Winston School when it is redeveloped.
On the east side of the street at the old gas station site on 10th street, a private development plan for a small hotel and restaurant is in the works and because of Measure B will be on a ballot in the near future.

At the southern entrance of town we are working on some new traffic calming strategies in combination with enhancements for bike and pedestrian uses, all envisioned in the Community Plan.

Our newly enacted sales tax will likely be used for utility undergrounding, Shores Park development, and downtown streetscape plans.
The Plaza at 15th street has new owners who are expressing interest in some upgrades and revisiting some of the community-serving uses originally envisioned decades ago. The Watermark housing planners are making some significant changes in response to community feedback. The new owners of the 16-acre North Bluffs property are in the early stages of soliciting community input on a lodge complex and community park plan.

One of our biggest challenges in the near future will be to decide if we should develop our own police department instead of continuing our contract with the County Sheriff.

Two of our most important preservation efforts are the newly passed restriction on short term rental businesses in residential areas and new proposals from the design review citizens committee to protect neighborhoods from out of scale residential structures. The goal in both is to build a protective rim around our residential core. Residents who live here full time and participate are absolutely critical to building community and fidelity to our Community Plan.

Certainly not to be overlooked are public works pro-jects that are paving our streets, calming Jimmy Durante Boulevard with sidewalks and a roundabout, and keeping our infrastructure in working order.

All of this plus action on climate change, sea level rise, and affordable housing.
Let there be no doubt — we move with careful deliberation but this city is on the move.

 

 

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