DEL MAR — With an architectural firm and environmental consultants on board, physical signs of a project to replace City Hall are visible on the site at 1050 Camino del Mar.
And at the April 20 meeting council members approved a revised schedule that includes an opportunity for residents to share with the design team their ideas about what the new facility should look like.
On April 6 council members approved agreements with The Miller Hull Partnership LLC and RECON. Since then representatives from both firms and the city have been working to “mesh” schedules, Planning Director Kathy Garcia said.
A meet-and-greet barbecue with the architects will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 4 in the City Hall parking lot.
Garcia described the event as a “festival of sorts” with stations for community interaction where people can view other Miller Hull projects, get to know the design team and provide input.
The scheduled council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., following the event
A June 1 open house will be held to discuss initial design options for a concept plan and elicit feedback. A preferred concept is slated to be presented to council for approval June 15.
The draft environmental impact report should be available by Sept. 7.
“This is substantially earlier than I had originally estimated before they (the architects) were on board, which is wonderful,” Garcia said.
A Design Review Board hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18. City Council is expected to hold an EIR certification hearing Dec. 7.
“This allows us to maintain a January demolition date,” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, the City Hall property has been surveyed and geotechnical drilling is just getting underway.
A request for proposals to find a temporary location for staff and council chambers during construction has been issued, about two months ahead of schedule, Garcia said.
Mayor Al Corti and Councilman Terry Sinnott reiterated the importance of providing residents with ample opportunities to weigh in as the design process moves forward.
Councilman Dwight Worden agreed, even if it affects the newly adopted schedule.
“I like the schedule,” Worden said. “It’s pretty aggressive. If it needs to slip to do it right that’s OK with me. I’d rather do it right than feel we have to adhere to a schedule that turns out to be too tight.”
Councilman Don Mosier said community input is important but he would like to stay on track as much as possible.
“In my view we’ve hired an exceptionally talented architectural design team who pay a lot of attention to the community in which they’re … designing,” he said. “I think it’s useful to have some feedback from the community.
“On the other hand these people have done a wonderful job multiple times designing buildings that match the surrounding community,” Mosier added. “One concern I have is we don’t get a building designed by committee.
“We’ve hired a very talented group of people,” he said. “Let’s let them inspire us.”
Worden agreed, but added, “This is a complicated, complex development project and they often, with the best of intentions, don’t make their schedule that they started out with.”
“I’m all for keeping the demolition date firm,” Mosier said.
Despite the new schedule, the ready-for-occupancy date of April 2017 remains the same.