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8 advisors chosen to help plan Shores park

DEL MAR — It had the potential to be a lengthy and controversial process.

But selecting members for the Shores Advisory Committee could almost have been a consent calendar item at the April 21 meeting.

Council members opted early on to form an advisory committee to help master plan the development of the Shores property, a 5.3-acre site bordered by Camino del Mar, Ninth Street and Stratford Court that the city bought from the Del Mar Union School District in 2008 for $8.5 million.

A few years later the parcel — one of the last remaining open spaces in the city — divided residents on how it should be used until a master plan was created.

Council members eventually adopted a compromise policy that was amenable to most parties involved, including dog owners and those who wanted an animal-free park such as families with small children and sports teams.

With the master planning process finally under way, the city advertised for members in February who could balance the different community interests, be objective and unbiased when weighing the competing stakeholder perspectives; and be committed to overseeing the process to ensure it adequately prioritized the competing park uses.

By the Feb. 28 deadline, 23 people applied for the seven positions. Council members waived a traditional policy of interviewing each candidate and instead reviewed all applications and submitted their top seven choices to the city’s administrative services director.

The plan was to have council members interview the top 10 candidates — or more if there were ties — and select seven.

A list of 11 people was compiled but three declined to participate for personal reasons or because they had a conflict of interest, such as living or owning property within 500 feet of the site.

Rather than eliminate just one candidate, Mayor Lee Haydu suggested changing the initial plan and allowing the final eight applicants to serve. Her colleagues agreed.

Sissy Allsebrook, Kathy Asciutto, Gerry Coleman, Judd Halenza, Nathan McCay, Art Olson, Tom Sohn and Piper Underwood were appointed to the advisory committee.

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