Council approves list of public benefits

Council approves list of public benefits
Watermark Del Mar. Council members agreed the highest-priority benefit should be affordable housing, which is included in the pending applications for Watermark Del Mar, Del Mar Resort and a mixed-use “residential hospitality” complex. Courtesy rendering

DEL MAR — With three applications submitted under the specific plan process, council members at the April 2 meeting approved and prioritized a list of 17 potential public benefits.

Developers will often use specific plans when proposals go beyond what is allowed by existing codes. In exchange for the benefits they will receive from their developments, cities can ask for “exceptional benefits.”

“It’s a way to give back to the community for a change in their community plan,” City Manager Scott Huth said.

Exceptional benefits must go beyond what developers are required for mitigation purposes and can include guaranteed uses, additional public parking or monetary contributions for planned or future city projects.

For example, L’Auberge Del Mar and Del Mar Plaza each brought benefits which included funding to build the library, public parking and community use of meeting rooms and outside seating areas.

Council members agreed the highest-priority benefit should be affordable housing, which is included in the pending applications for Watermark Del Mar, Del Mar Resort and a mixed-use “residential hospitality” complex.

Additionally, the exceptional public benefit list includes providing public open spaces, trail improvements and upgrades to existing open spaces, such as the rehabilitation of the Scripps bluff preserve.

Another recommendation would provide assistance with the developing public art program

“I’m a strong proponent of public art and that program has no funding,” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “Any contribution to that might be helpful.”

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