DEL MAR — The Del Mar City Council has overruled a land-use decision and agreed to hear an appeal later this month regarding the allowance of structures at a property located along the city’s main drag.
In May, Carl Reinholz, Del Mar resident and property owner of 1125 Camino Del Mar, presented a case to the city’s Planning Commission seeking a determination of allowable use on several structures he had constructed on a 10-foot landscaped setback.
Setbacks typically provide separation between different land-use designations.
The Planning Commission, in a unanimous vote (and one recusal), agreed that the structures were allowable and that setbacks shall have an allowance of 20% for “decorative structures.”
Even with the Planning Commission’s decision, Reinholz would still have to remove some of the structures currently in place and add more vegetation to the setback.
In most cases, this is where the story ends.
But soon after the commission’s decision, Junie Young, a property owner of nearby 1101 Camino Del Mar, filed an appeal of the decision with the Del Mar City Council.
In her application for appeal, Young called the Planning Commission’s decision an “abominable behavior that destroys the natural environment on which mankind depends.”
In response to Young’s appeal, the council agreed to negate the commission’s decision and take up the case itself, providing Young with an opportunity to further present her case.
The case will be heard at the council’s July 26 meeting.
The council was only allowed to ask questions and not give their thoughts on the matter during the case for appeal and two council members were required to move the case forward for a decision from the council.
Mayor Terry Gaasterland and Councilmembers Dave Drucker and Tracy Martinez agreed to hear the case. Councilman Dave Quirk voted no and Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden recused himself.
During the case for appeal, Renholz’s lawyer, D. Wayne Brechtel, of Worden Williams LLP in Solana Beach, said his client only built the structures as a result of a wall that was constructed by residential owners that are adjacent to his property.
“I’m not saying this is a bad thing or they are evildoers but that’s the circumstance Mr. Reinholz was faced with and in response to that he did something to redo the landscaped buffer that was removed as part of that construction project in a creative way,” Brechtel said.
Brechtel asked the council to allow the Planning Commission’s decision on the case to stand as they are the body with jurisdiction over the matter.
Young expressed her concerns that this case could set a precedent for other properties in Del Mar.
“You can imagine that if every buffer zone is built with structures that violate conventions and laws, the environment we live in will be very bad and the green will become less and less or even disappear,” Young said.
Brechtel contends the decision was a limited determination for the site at 1125 Camino Del Mar only.
“It’s only this site, due to the unique circumstances of the topography, that it’s reasonable to allow some level of landscape structures,” Brechtel said.
With the decision of the council, they now become the determining body over the case and it is unclear if that would mean an official city ordinance would result from the determination.