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Council agrees on some elements of new City Hall

DEL MAR — As the process to build a new civic center moves forward, council members reached consensus on a few elements at the May 5 meeting.

There was general agreement that the facility should be one story with the City Hall and Town Hall as adjoining buildings.

But Councilman Don Mosier said his colleagues should remain open-minded since two-story buildings tend to be more energy efficient.

Last month council members were presented with two opinions on how much space is needed for the complex. They ranged from 8,395 square feet to 10,837 square feet for the City Hall and 4,313 square feet to 5,046 square feet for the Town Hall.

The major differences were in the circulation allowances, or the area for hallways, corridors, partitions and wall thicknesses, and the size of indoor public space for counters and storage.

While council didn’t nail down specific sizes, they agreed the Town Hall should have seating for a minimum of 100 people with about 75 additional public parking spaces.

They all favored a 15,000-square-foot plaza, which would be large enough to accommodate the farmers market.

“I’m all for large plazas,” Mosier said, adding that the farmers market “is a critical part of community.” He said a 15,000-square-foot plaza on a 66,000-square-foot lot is not unreasonable. He added that he would prefer tables and chairs that can be moved rather than concrete benches or stools.

“I don’t think we need to overbuild this,” Councilman Al Corti said. “I don’t think we should overbuild this.”

Council members also agreed to slow the process down a bit and perhaps add another workshop before presenting some alternatives to the public. They especially did not want to rush into crafting a ballot measure for the November election.

Language for that would have to be finalized by July, which Mosier said was too short of a timeframe.

“Let’s say flexible,” he said about the schedule.

Resident Bill Michalsky agreed.

“Don’t rush this process,” he said. “The community has to chew on this. … I want a new building as much as anyone but I think it needs to be kept in scale to be successful.”

City officials are just trying to get a ballpark figure on the necessary space so they can come up with cost estimates. No plans have been created yet.