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Council names 3 to board; still 1 vacancy

DEL MAR — Council members appointed Kelly Kaplan, Joe Curtis and Scott Crouch to the Design Review Board, filling three of four vacancies on the volunteer advisory committee at the April 15 meeting. 

Kaplan had reapplied for a second four-year term on the DRB and will serve until 2017. She said she would like to improve the citizens participation program, a requirement for certain applicants to better inform neighbors about planned projects, and develop guidelines for some design elements not currently included in the DRB process, such as lighting.

During her previous term there were issues with attendance, as her interior designer job required her to be in San Francisco frequently. Now that she is aware her absence was an issue, Kaplan said she will better plan her travel schedule.

Curtis is a four-year Del Mar resident who said he applied for the DRB “to preserve the aesthetic quality of the town.”

President of Pickford Escrow, he said he has overseen work with the California Coastal Commission and Rancho Santa Fe Review Board to build and operate office spaces in that town and La Jolla.

“I understand the review processes to small desirable communities,” he said.

Asked by Councilwoman Sherryl Parks how he would deal with the conflict of weighing individual property rights with the rights of neighborhood character, Curtis said he would take into consideration the code and what’s allowable.

Curtis, who has not previously served on any other citizen committees in Del Mar, was appointed until 2017.

Crouch said he applied for the DRB after building two homes in Del Mar. During the process, he said he learned a lot about height restrictions, floor area ratios and zoning.

“I truly enjoyed both experiences,” he said, adding that he wished he had applied to the DRB sooner. “I’d simply like to keep the character of Del Mar intact (and) preserve its integrity.”

A lifelong San Diegan who has lived in Del Mar since 1972, Crouch was appointed to the Finance Committee in January but isn’t concerned about the time commitment to serve on two boards.

“This city’s provided my family with so much,” he said. “I’d like to give back and get involved. “So fortunate to live here and there’s not a day goes by I take it for granted.”

As a real estate broker, he would have to recuse himself from any projects proposed for property in which his company was involved so he was appointed for a term that ends in 2015.

Mike Khoury also submitted an application but was unable to attend the April 15 meeting. He currently has a pending land-use action being considered.

The assistant city attorney said council members are not mandated to set aside his application but there could be a perception that the matter swayed their decision one way or another so they agreed to put it on hold until the matter is resolved.

The vacancies were the result of three normal term expirations and the resignation of Sam Borgese, who was appointed to serve until 2015. Council members postponed a vote in March because there were only four applicants and the city has a policy for a greater than one-to-one ratio for DRB and the Planning Commission.

Since then five applications were received, but Kevin Popovic withdrew four days before the April 15 meeting, creating another one-to-one ratio.

Council members opted to change the policy, which they are allowed to do, especially because setting aside Khoury’s application resulted in a less than one-to-one ratio.

Anyone interested in serving on the DRB should submit a citizens interest form available at City Hall or on the website. The vacant term goes through 2016.