Program to ease DRB process will stay

DEL MAR — A two-year pilot program designed to streamline the design review process, reduce costs and avoid conflicts between residents was made permanent at the Oct. 22 meeting. 

The Citizens Participation Program was originally adopted in October 2010 to create a required outreach process that gives neighbors the ability to weigh in on development proposals before the projects go before the Design Review Board.

The ordinance applies to all second-story additions to an existing structure or projects larger than 500 square feet. The process also applies to projects that have the potential for adverse impacts to the surrounding area.

Since the program was adopted, 13 projects have been reviewed under the process. One was approved on the DRB’s consent calendar and six were OK’d during the first and only public hearing.

Councilwoman Lee Haydu, who suggested the program, said very few projects were approved on consent when she was a DRB member.

Councilman Don Mosier said during his time on the board meetings often lasted beyond 11 p.m., and they could be contentious at times.

Current DRB member feedback “was unanimously positive about the value of having a neighborhood outreach requirement,” according to the staff report.

Council members unanimously made the ordinance permanent after adding two recommendations from the Design Review Board.

Letters to affected residents must now be sent 14 days prior to the proposed meeting date. Project applicants or their representative will also be required to provide a written response to any concerns raised during the meeting within 14 days.

The follow-up letter must explain how the project will be modified as a result of those concerns or, if not changed, why. It must be sent to anyone who attended the meeting and submitted to the director of planning and community development.


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