Del Mar civic center complex plans take shape

Del Mar civic center complex plans take shape
The entry garden view from 11th and Camino del Mar. Courtesy rendering

DEL MAR — As workers prepare to move into the new civic center complex, council members at the March 19 meeting decided on a variety of related topics, from the circulation plan to the budget for the June 30 dedication ceremony.

In response to community input, they agreed to allow vehicles to enter and exit the facility via 10th Street. A previously approved plan allowed only one ingress into the garage, with egress permitted in an emergency or during special events and traffic directed east to Camino del Mar.

A traffic analysis found the change would have no significant impacts on the area.

“This improves the historic traffic circulation, but it also honors the agreement we made with the neighbors to try to keep all the traffic out of the surrounding neighborhoods,” former Councilman Don Mosier said.

The city received several emails, including a petition signed by more than 50 people, supporting the change because it provides balanced circulation.

But Tanya Blackshaw, who lives across 10th Street from the facility, opposed the modification.

Town Hall and City Hall from Commons. Courtesy rendering

“Are you trying to make my life unbearable?” she asked in an email

Julie Maxey-Allison, who also lives on 10th Street, said the decision to allow more traffic on the “already poorly designed and managerially neglected 10th Street is just wrong” from many perspectives, not the least of which is safety.

She said the change “appears to doom 10th Street to traffic chaos for cars and pedestrians.”

Mayor Dwight Worden said he walked the area and, in his opinion, safety was addressed.

“Is it an ideal street in terms of safety and this and that?” he asked. “Probably not, but there are probably a dozen or more intersections in Del Mar that aren’t ideal.

“We do not have a history of traffic accidents there.,” he added. “It makes the most sense to reinstate what has been there for 40 years, which is in and out on both 10th and 11th, and to honor the agreement of the neighbors.

“I wish we could make everybody happy but we can’t,” Worden said. “But to those of you on 10th Street who may go home less than happy, we will monitor it and if there is a problem we will address it.”

Council members also adopted a use policy for the complex based on community input and rules currently in place for other city venues, such as Powerhouse Community Center.

No outside activities will be allowed after 10 p.m. Indoor events must end by 10 p.m. with cleanup complete within an hour after that.

City-related business or city-sponsored activities are exempt. The facility will not be available for private social events or by for-profit organizations. In general, all Del Mar nonprofits can use the complex.

During this first year, events with more than 250 people will be limited to one per quarter starting no earlier than July and not including the farmers market, which is expected to begin operating at the new facility by late summer.

Overlook from 10th and Camino del Mar looking north. Courtesy rendering

In an effort to make the complex more accessible to more groups, Councilman Dave Druker tried unsuccessfully to lower that number to 150 during the transition period because he didn’t think there would be many requests for events that large.

Kristen Crane, the assistant city manager, said staff is still working on developing a reservation process and on-site management, including what the associated costs will be.

The official dedication ceremony will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 30, with an approved budget of $10,000, which will come from the contingency fund.

Another $450 will be spent on a time capsule that will be opened in 2059, marking the city’s 100th anniversary. The historical society will decide on the contents.

A dedication plaque will include the city seal and a donor plaque will be added in about a year, giving people time to contribute after the facility opens. Currently about $132,500 has been donated.

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