City Hall project hits snag; will result in one-month delay

City Hall project hits snag; will result in one-month delay
Significant community input during a September workshop results in the City Hall replacement project’s first setback. But the one-month delay will not have a major impact on the earliest anticipated completion date of July 2017. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — The City Hall replacement project hit a slight setback when council members at the Oct. 19 meeting approved a modified schedule, but it will not have a major impact on the earliest anticipated completion date of July 2017.

The one-month delay was requested by Mayor Al Corti and Councilman Don Mosier, who serve as liaisons for the project.

“I think this is an absolute necessary step,” Mosier said. “This is a very important project for the city and there’s no need to rush it if we’re not in the right place at the right time.”

“I don’t think the architects were prepared yet,” Corti said, adding that the clear message from his colleagues in prior meetings was that “this is too big of a decision to rush and if we need to take an extra couple of weeks or whatever then we should do that.”

With feedback provided during a Sept. 28 workshop, architects from The Miller Hull Partnership were scheduled to present design options at the Oct. 19 meeting, which was slated to be followed by a Citizens’ Participation Program meeting Oct. 21.

Planning Director Kathy Garcia said “substantial input” was received during the September workshop. Mosier said the comments didn’t “give a clear message to the architects on which direction to go.”

“We’ve had several subsequent meetings with them where we tried to distill the community input into something a little more concrete, and I think we’re making progress,” Mosier said, adding that the team should be given a little more time to “digest the community input” and come up with more creative solutions.

Corti agreed, saying he and Mosier “weren’t comfortable that the design had progressed far enough along” to respond to questions raised at the workshop.

“It just seemed like it made a lot more sense to extend this to the next meeting where we felt that we can have a design that we can all constructively look at and comment to,” he added.

In April council members adopted a timeline for the project that had been maintained to date. According to the new schedule, design concepts will be presented Nov. 2, with the CPP meeting now set for Nov. 19. The Design Review Board hearing was rescheduled from Nov. 18 to Dec. 16.

If all goes as planned, demolition of the existing building will begin Feb. 5, one month later than originally scheduled.

“I’m very much in favor of taking the necessary time to do it right,” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “It would be very nice on Nov. 2 if what the architect comes back with is … two or three kind of options that respond to the community’s input in different ways, in creative ways, so that the community and the council can look at it and try to pick … the best of the best.”

“He’s been very effective in showing us options in the past and I hope he continues that,” Sinnott added. “The time to develop those would be well worth it.”

“We want to move as quickly as we can but we want to get it right,” Councilman Dwight Worden said.

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