The opening of our long-sought Civic Center is a great time to celebrate much that we have achieved as a community over the years and many things we continue to accomplish today.
We live in a community where we citizens involve ourselves in almost every decision, large or small, simple or complicated. Unlike most other towns we help define how we look, how we grow (or not), how we protect our natural assets, how we shape our man-made structures, how we move around, how we deal with change, and how we live together with our neighbors. That involvement creates a feeling of control over our environment which is very motivating.
It also creates a lot of noise when many voices speak up as we converse and debate, earnestly looking for consensus. This can create an incorrect impression that we disagree about many things, when in fact the opposite is true. We believe there is a strong community-wide commitment to a set of core values that are set out in our Community Plan. We want a small town that values the natural environment, that right-sizes the built environment, that protects neighborhood character, that relishes constructive human interaction, and that prioritizes pedestrian movement over auto traffic.
• The Civic Center itself represents a victory over decades of frustration and failure to create a town center that respects our extraordinary city employees and creates a civic space that we can enjoy and be proud of. The decision process was long and sometimes arduous but our leaders guided the process to a conclusion with remarkable community unity.
• We are finally bringing to fruition our many years of streetscape planning for our downtown to make it more attractive and pedestrian-friendly.
• We are now implementing a long term public works strategy to upgrade our streets and infrastructure.
• We have narrowed down to two our plans for creating a wonderful new Shores Park.
• We have made an extraordinarily strong commitment to our beach and bluff neighborhoods to prioritize beach replenishment as a preferred strategy for protecting homes and a walkable public beach as climate change causes sea level rise. Our beautiful beach is a defining characteristic of Del Mar.
• We are putting in place new design and short term rental guidelines for protecting neighborhood character and preserving our residential core.
• We voted in a new sales tax (Measure Q) which will give us the financial wherewithal to underground all utility lines, implement the Shores Park plan, and complete the downtown Streetscape plan.
Of course, we still have many issues to discuss and debate and as we do let’s keep perspective on how much we agree on and how our community unity has achieved so much during that last several decades.