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Community Community Community Del Mar News Rancho Santa Fe

Watermark comment period extended

DEL MAR — Due to a filing glitch the deadline to comment on an environmental document for a proposed multifamily development on the southeast corner of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive has been extended by more than two weeks.

Interested parties now have until April 30 to weigh in on a notice of preparation for Watermark Del Mar, a controversial project that will include 48 units in 12 structures on the 2.37-acre vacant lot that is currently zoned for commercial uses.

An NOP advises agencies and other interested parties of the intent to prepare a draft environmental impact report.

“The NOP was redistributed due to concerns raised that the document wasn’t consistent with the content and posting requirements of the (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines,” Matt Bator, the city’s senior planner, said.

Bator said the document was actually “was redistributed for a new 30-day period, not extended, starting the day of resubmittal to the state Clearinghouse and the County Clerk. “

“According to the state’s CEQA database, it was received/posted on April 1 so the commenting period would end on the 30,” he said.

The city held a scoping meeting on March 26 to garner input from residents on what should be studied in the EIR.

Potential environmental effects that will be evaluated include aesthetics, air and water quality, cultural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, land use and planning, noise, population and housing, recreation, traffic and circulation, cumulative impacts, and project alternatives.

Seven of the units will be designated affordable. Four of those will be given to the city to remain in that housing category in perpetuity.

That allows property owner Watermark DM LP to build at least 20 units per acre. It also helps the city fulfill a state requirement to provide affordable housing.

Current plans call for 20.25 units per acre. The developer could also apply for a density bonus, but that has not been requested.

Because the site is currently zoned for commercial use, several legislative changes and discretionary permits must be approved before residential units are allowed.

Watermark DM is in the process of creating a specific plan, which creates a special set of development standards for a particular area, encompasses all the legislative actions and regulatory development parameters and allows the public benefit of the project to be addressed.

Critics say Watermark is too dense, taking up about 70 percent of the site, does not have enough parking and does not fit the character of the city.

Supporters say it will provide a more varied housing mix in Del Mar and help the city meet its legal obligations.

The NOP and other information is available on the city website.

Written comments should be submitted to Bator by 4:30 p.m. April 30 at or 1050 Camino del Mar, Del Mar, California 92014.

This story has been modified since its original posting.

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