In Brief

Solar Success

The 212 solar panels on the roof of the Del Mar City Hall started producing energy in November 2018. Since then, the positive environmental impacts of the 35 MegaWattHrs of electricity produced have resulted in 320,985 kg (354 tons) of CO2 emissions avoided and the equivalent of 5,342 trees planted according to the SolarEdge monitoring system. The electricity generated saved the city over $178,000 in avoided SDG&E bills. Of course, the trees planted metric only considers carbon sequestration by trees, not their many other benefits cited elsewhere in this issue.



The average residential electricity rate for San Diego Gas & Electric customers is now 39 cents per kilowatt hour, the highest in the nation (23 cents average) except for Hawaii.



Rain Retention

This year winter storms brought much needed water to drought riddled California. The question now is how to catch and store this water. Researchers across the West are seeking solutions with the goal of helping aquifers replenish themselves. Possible statewide answers include groundwater recharge projects that guide water to basins allowing water to settle and seep into the ground and injection wells that drive the water directly into aquifers. In addition, permeable pavements, in place on some San Francisco streets–and on the outdoor parking lot of the Del Mar Civic Center–enable water to flow into the soil, an example that other cities can follow. Meanwhile, residents can help preserve water by maintaining a healthy tree population, planting rooftop gardens, and using cisterns and rain barrels.

Shirley King with her 200-gallon rain barrel. Photo by Art Olson.


Plant a tree on Earth Day, April 22nd

Torrey Pines on the Guy Fleming Trail. Sandpiper Archives

Rental Rescue

At the March 6th City Council meeting, the Council voted unanimously to accept the offer of Del Mar Community Connections to continue to administer the Rental Assistance program benefiting four long-term residents, with the City funding half of the annual cost, estimated at $80-90,000 total per year, and half funded by community donations and DMCC. All public comments were in favor of continuation of the program for the current four participating families, with many arguing that this was both a legal and moral obligation of the City. The council action reversed the earlier decision to terminate the program this July after strong negative feedback from Del Mar residents and commentary in the Sandpiper.


As an interesting footnote, the staff report indicated that the rental assistance program was a component of the city’s 6th cycle Housing Element, correcting prior assertions that its inclusion was a clerical error.The next item on the March 6th agenda was an updated financial report that showed city revenues have returned to pre-pandemic levels and that the $40,000 pledged for rental assistance will not have a significant impact on city finances.



Bully’s Redo

A message from Hillstone Guest Services regarding the proposed restaurant to be built in the hollow vacated by Bully’s:


“We are really excited about Del Mar, and you should see some changes on the site soon with construction getting under way. However, it’s likely the construction process will take well over a year. We look forward to the pleasure of serving you in 2024!”



COVID Persistence

After an uptick in January, the number of COVID cases in San Diego County has leveled off with data for early March showing about 150 hospitalizations and 15 deaths per week, almost all of which occurred in the elderly population. Barring the appearance of another highly infectious variant, this level trend is predicted to continue in the coming months. Before we celebrate, these results mean that the COVID virus is here to stay and remains dangerous for vulnerable individuals.