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Downtown specific plan heads November ballot

DEL MAR — The fate of a vacant downtown lot will be determined in the November election after council members at the Aug. 6 meeting approved a ballot measure for the adoption of a specific plan for a “flexible-use” complex on a 25,500-square-foot-parcel east of Del Mar’s main downtown thoroughfare between Ninth and 10th streets.

The development, called 41 Camino Del Mar, will include office, retail and restaurant space and eight “residential hospitality” units, two of which will be deemed affordable.

Don Glatthorn, vice president of Kitchell Development Company, said the housing element will be condominiums that will be sold to individual owners who could live there full or part time or rent them out full or part time.

Rental units would have to be booked through an onsite manager and not online platforms such as Airbnb.

A specific plan for a previous project known as Garden Del Mar, a commercial, restaurant and retail complex, was approved by voters in 2008 but never built.

A specific plan lays out development parameters for a property and sets new zoning laws that supersede existing regulations.

The process was used for L’Auberge Del Mar and Del Mar Plaza and has been approved for Watermark Del Mar at the corner of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive, as well as a proposed bluff-top luxury resort.

A specific plan requires the developer to offer “exceptional benefits” to the community.

In addition to an extra affordable housing unit, Kitchell will be providing nearly $140,000 in funding, including $35,000 for downtown streetscape improvements, $50,000 for completion of the Shores Park master plan and $15,000 for public art.

In the past, the project would have been subject to an initiative known as Measure B, which required voter approval for downtown developments larger than 25,000 square feet.

However, Measure B was recently deemed unenforceable based the outcome of a lawsuit involving a Malibu initiative fashioned after it.

In the upcoming election, voters will only be asked to approve the specific plan, not the actual project.

However, residents will be able to weigh in as 941 Camino Del Mar goes through the city’s development process, which requires approval from the Planning Commission, Design Review Board and City Council.

The proposal must also be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

Councilwomen Sherryl Parks and Ellie Haviland were chosen to write the arguments for the ballot measure, as well as a rebuttal if there is an argument against it.

The four council members present said they support the specific plan. Haviland was absent from the meeting.

No one from the public spoke for or against the project, however, there has been overall support at previous meetings and workshops.

The 941 Camino Del Mar measure will be the third Del Mar measure that will appear on the November ballot.

Earlier in the Aug. 6 meeting, council members approved an initiative that will ask voters to consider changing the calculation that determines the size of oceanfront homes, although those present said they will not support it.

In July, council agreed to let voters decide if Del Mar’s charter should be amended, a move that could potentially give the county’s smallest city more control over land use.