Workshop planned for City Hall replacement

Workshop planned for City Hall replacement
Nearly everyone agrees City Hall, which lacks indoor restrooms for employees, needs to be replaced. Council will hold a Dec. 2 workshop to update residents on what’s been done to date, answer questions and garner public input. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — With new City Hall offices identified as a primary need, a workshop to garner public input on the who, what and where will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2. 

In a roundtable format, residents will be given information on what has been done so far, discuss their preferences in small groups and have questions answered. Representatives from each table will report the outcome of their discussions.

Potential questions will include whether City Hall should be made up of administrative offices for city departments, council chambers, the TV studio, a community center, a mixed-use complex or any combination of those uses.

City officials will also be seeking public opinion on whether City Hall should be rebuilt on the current site at 1050 Camino del Mar or in an existing office building. Two potential properties that can accommodate city needs have been identified. One is in the professional commercial zone and the other is in the north commercial zone.

Residents will also be asked if a viable option would be to purchase an existing office building if it was less expensive than building new administrative offices.

Another option to be considered could be whether to sell all or some of the current City Hall property if it is not used for a new facility. Money raised would help pay for the new building elsewhere.

Answers to these questions could show a community consensus on any one direction or be used to refine options for ongoing, public discussion. Resident Bill Michalsky said he supports the idea but has some concerns about the process.

“I’m interested in this discussion,” he said. “I think it’s long overdue. … The current structure has lived its useful life and well beyond.”

Michalsky said he found the questions vague. “I thought some of these administrative questions had been answered,” he said, adding that he would like to see more specifics on the floor plan.

Resident Hershell Price suggested the city survey residents beforehand, a recommendation some council members liked.

“A lot of these questions … are all over the place,” Councilwoman Lee Haydu said, noting that a survey could provide consensus before the workshop, which would make the event more productive.

Councilman Don Mosier agreed. “I think there’s too broad an array of questions here,” he said, adding that they should be narrowed down to three or four.

He also said he would like to eliminate the option to sell the current City Hall property.

“We eventually would have other uses for it,” he said. “I’d like to sort of shut that off for now. … I don’t think we need to discuss it at this particular workshop, this particular junction.”

Haydu also had concerns about the timing. She said attendance could be low with the upcoming holidays.

“I don’t want to keep putting this off,” Councilman Al Corti said.

Mayor Terry Sinnott and Corti said they would work with staff to refine the format and questions

“I understand this is a busy time of year,” Sinnott said. “We may not get a lot of folks.”

Sinnott said the goal of the workshop may be more about getting public input than answering questions.

“It’s a start,” he said. “It gets reactions and it tests the water as to what we’re considering, assuming we’re going to go to other lengths to get the community involved later on when we get more detail.”

City Manager Scott Huth said he would need more information before conducting a survey. The workshop is expected to last about two hours.

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