San Dieguito Drive Going Public

Owners of property adjacent to San Dieguito Drive, a private road extending from Racetrack View Drive to Oribia Road, achieved a long-sought-after goal at the June 17, 2024 Council meeting: approval of a plan to upgrade the very deteriorated road to meet City standards and have the road accepted into the City’s public street system, shifting responsibility of future maintenance from the property owners to the City. The plan required approval of an Improvement District by a vote of affected property owners, and the levying of assessments for those property owners to pay a 30% share of the estimated $1.3 million cost to bring the road up to City standards.


Previously, on September 5, 2023, the Council approved a “Minimal Alternative” to upgrading the road, after outreach and engagement with the residents. This alternative will provide the minimum (but significant) improvements necessary to meet public street standards, while maintaining the rural character of the neighborhood and having the least impact on existing private improvements. And significantly, on April 15, 2024, the Council approved a staff recommendation to contribute 70% of the project’s estimated cost of $1.3 million, based on public benefit from the project.


Ballots on the Improvement District formation were opened and counted in public at the June 17 Council meeting—a scintillating half-hour for those watching on television at home. A total of 26 ballots were cast, with 22 voting “yes” (87.5% by “weighted” vote, with weighting based on the assessment amount for each property), and 4 voting “no” (12.5% by weighted vote).

Map of the San Dieguito Drive Improvement District, from the City of Del Mar San Dieguito Drive Improvement District Engineer’s Report FY 2024-25 (April 2024).

Once the ballot results were announced, the Council approved a Resolution moving the plan forward by a 4-1 vote, based on the affected property owners’ overwhelming support for the project. The project will be coordinated with the X1A Undergrounding project, which is underway now, though property owners can pay their assessments over 20 years.


Councilmember Quirk cast the lone “no” vote on the Resolution, citing his “concerns, big picture, about how the City approaches public works projects.” Mayor Druker’s rejoinder: “The cost of this project is the cost, no matter what one Councilmember thinks it should cost.” He stated that other City priorities will not be delayed because this project is going forward.


Upon passage of the Resolution, the San Dieguito-area residents in the room applauded, visibly happy that at long last, they had successfully navigated the long and winding road to a public San Dieguito Drive.