City changes curfew, OKs lot sale

City changes curfew, OKs lot sale
The city is moving forward to sell a 3,170-square-foot parcel just east of 301 Hidden Pines Road that once housed what is now an abandoned water pump. Courtesy map

DEL MAR — Council members took action at the May 20 meeting to change the curfew for minors and sell a vacant city-owned lot.Three years ago the county changed its juvenile curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. to be consistent with a handful of cities that had already switched it to an hour earlier.

Not long after, then-Supervisor Pam Slater-Price sent letters to Del Mar and Solana Beach urging them to follow suit. Solana Beach did so in May 2010.

Neighboring cities such as San Diego and its jurisdictions — Rancho Santa Fe, Carmel Valley, etc. — and Encinitas have a 10 p.m. curfew. Having a later curfew, as Del Mar currently does, creates an oasis effect in which minors stay in the city where they can remain in public an extra hour.

According to the staff report, the park ranger and enforcement officers have found most minors contacted in Del Mar after 10 p.m. live in surrounding jurisdictions where curfew hours start earlier.

“That has created juveniles arriving in our city knowing they’re legal here until 11, but when they head home they’re actually in violation,” Park Ranger Adam Chase said. “So we’re trying to create an ordinance to be more in line with surrounding cities and with the county.”

The change is expected to result in fewer crimes related to minors. The new curfew will likely take effect in early July.

Despite opposition to sell a 3,170-square-foot parcel just east of 301 Hidden Pines Road, council agreed to move forward with the sale of the property that once housed a water pump.

The lot is 25 feet wide, 127 feet deep and has a steep south-to-north slope, with an elevation difference of about 40 feet. There is a small, relatively flat area on the northern portion that is slightly elevated from the street.

Zoned residential, it could be developed with variances.

Peter Van Rooyen, who owns the property to the east of the lot, said he would like to buy it to provide a greenbelt between him and the other surrounding owners, Clyde Freeman and Gary Burke.

Van Rooyen said he has no plans to build on the property or expand his existing home and would take steps to ensure it remains open space in perpetuity.

Because the city no longer has any use for the property, it is in the public interest to sell it. To do so, a hearing was required to allow testimony from anyone who opposes the sale.

Freeman, Burke and Don Countryman, representing another property owner, objected, mainly because there is no guarantee Van Rooyen will be the successful bidder.

Councilman Don Mosier said there is no clear mechanism to guarantee it remains open space.

“How do we ensure that this gentleman’s agreement is fully executed?” he asked.

“I don’t see a way that you can … because you can’t take away those property rights,” City Attorney Leslie Devaney said.

Because there was at least one protest to the sale, four of the five council members had to agree to move forward. The vote was 4-1, with Mayor Terry Sinnott dissenting.

The proposed sale will be presented to the Planning Commission during its June 11 meeting, after which staff will proceed with the preliminary title report and appraisal, then return to council with the estimated value and seek direction on the minimum price and method of sale, such as a sealed bid or use of a broker.

Money from the sale would be used to acquire or improve city parks. Sinnott asked that there be language to ensure funds are used for capital expenses.

“I don’t want this money to go to operating expenses for the city,” he said.

In other council news, Mosier and former Councilman Richard Earnest applied to fill a vacant seat on the nine-member, governor-appointed 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, which oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The city agreed to send a letter to Sacramento supporting the appointment of either resident.

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