WHAT IS PROPOSED? IF APPROVED, this ballot initiative will re-zone the coastal North Bluff at the southwest corner of Border/Via de la Valle and Camino del Mar to high density commercial and remove this 16 acre coastal Bluff from the requirements of Del Mar Community Plan and the Zoning Code. If APPROVED, developers can build up to 156 (65+81+10) hotel rooms/rental units, 4 oceanfront villas, 22 affordable housing units, a subterranean parking garage with 408 spaces (27 spaces for the general public). Commercial space can include 2 bars, 2 restaurants, spa/ health club, retail, and 14,300 square feet of convention meeting space. An estimated 3,842 car trips per day will add to traffic at the Via de La Valle/Camino del Mar intersection – a 20 – 25% increase in traffic.


 AYes” VOTE would re-zone the 16 acres for high-density commercial development.

  • The developers get to ignore the Del Mar planning and zoning code and write their own design guidelines. Is this OK with you?
  • The developers get to speculate on the impact of traffic, pollution, and green house gas production resulting from the project, without producing any evidence of impact or sustainable use. Is this OK with you?
  • The developers get to make promises and claims that are difficult or even impossible to guarantee into perpetuity, such as sand replenishment, bluff stabilization, erosion control, trail maintenance and public toilet maintenance that benefit the Resort. Is this OK with you?
  • The developers get to disrupt the peaceful nature of the 4-acre Scripps Bluff Preserve by placing buildings and noisy resort activities right next to the preserve. Is this OK with you?
  • The developers get to advance this project without erecting story poles so the public can see the visual impact of the buildings on the character of the bluff and the views from surrounding homes and streets. Is this OK with you?
  • The Design Review Board and Planning Commission would be unable to require changes, only make suggestions – according to the developers’ new Design Guidelines in the initiative.

 A “NO” VOTE protects the Preserve and our existing bluff access.

  • Current zoning under the Community Plan will remain in effect and 16- 18 homes may be built.
  • Subdivision of the 5 property lots would initiate City requirements for additional bluff-top access per DMMC section 30.61. Design Review Board and Planning Commission will have full input on any development on this property in accordance with the Del Mar Community Plan and Zoning Code.
  • Protections of the Bluff Overlay Zone will remain in place.

ANO” VOTE protects the entire 16-acre North Bluff and says:

  • NO INCREASED DENSITY. The developer’s proposal is completely opposite of the current zoning code in building density (Floor Area Ratio FAR), land use, and design standards.
    Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO STORY POLES? NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT or FINANCIAL IMPACT REPORTS? NO MARISOL. The Developer wants to build this project without story poles, without a binding Environmental Impact Report (EIR), without explaining how low income housing will be managed, and without answering other Del Mar residents’ questions, before the March 2020 election. An EIR has been promised but not delivered. Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO INCREASED TRAFFIC. Vehicle trips are estimated to increase by 3,842 trips per day when finished, a 20- 25% increase. Excavation of a subterranean parking garage for 408 spaces, the hauling away of this soil, site grading and large construction and cement trucks will further snarl traffic especially during track, fair or beach peak times. See these calculations below . Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO VIEW IMPACT. Many Solana Beach neighbors will lose their views blocked by 46-foot high buildings topped by mechanical equipment. The resort will dominate and replace the natural bluff view from Dog Beach with oversized bulk-and-mass of resort development.
    Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO RISK TO THE BLUFF. The UNSTABLE BLUFF will be further jeopardized by intense resort use after deep excavations for a subterranean parking garage with 408 spaces.
    Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO NEW FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS TO EAT ANY NEW TOT TAXES. Developer estimates of $4 million per year could be eaten up by the City’s payments for maintenance of 1.69 miles of trails, new toilet facilities at Dog Beach, new stairs, a promised zero-emissions shuttle between the resort, Del Mar and Solana Beach, and beach replenishment. The developer says there will be “financial mechanisms established” to provide maintenance. There are NO PROVISIONS in the Initiative. Once this property is built and sold to a hotel management firm, how will these expenses be paid in perpetuity? A fully funded endowment should be created by these developers to fund these expenses in perpetuity. The City is unable to negotiate or enter into a developer agreement that would guarantee these until after the vote.       Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO TRANSFER OF PROPERTY and GUARANTEES OF AGREEMENTS TO A THIRD-PARTY DEVELOPER. The developer could assign, transfer or sell to another developer once entitlements are in place. Unless agreements “run with the land”, they will mean nothing. The Initiative has no provision for these agreements. Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO OVERSHADOWED SCRIPP’S BLUFF PRESERVE. 46-foot high buildings located just feet from the 4 acre Preserve will eliminate the peace and serenity of the Bluff Preserve forever! (Note: Take a walk up the trail from Dog Beach and enjoy the views.) Do you want that? If not, Vote No!
  • NO REWRITE. The Marisol Initiative ignores and re-writes the Del Mar planning and zoning codes and Design Review Guidelines to meet their own business goals.
    Do you want that? If not, Vote No!

NOTE: if approved by voters the MARISOL RESORT PLAN INITIATIVE BECOMES the PLAN FOR THIS PROPERTY. The City of Del Mar cannot make changes.

Citizens have submitted the following questions for clarification.   They have NOT been answered:  

  • The developer states there is 16.5 acres but we calculate 15.87 from Assessor’s information. Why the discrepancy?
  • The developer says:For the first time in over 100 years, the public can enjoy this marvel’s natural setting and views through a network of accessible trails.” Not True! The adjacent bluff-top 4-acre Scripp’s Bluff Preserve has been accessible since the early 1970s thanks to James Scripps’ donation. This quiet, pristine, hidden gem of a park will be “swallowed up” by the resort with its 46-foot high buildings and swimming pools, erasing all possibilities of quiet or solitude.       On the north boundary, Shoreline Public Access extends west of Border Avenue.
  • The developer says: “In addition to visitors patronizing local businesses, the direct Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue is estimated at $4.5M annually, putting long awaited public projects finally within reach.” What is the evidence of these projections/ calculations? The Environmental Impact Report has not been published as of Dec. 1 to understand ramifications. The Initiative has NO provisions for annuities or endowments to bind future owners.
  • How will the San Dieguito Lagoon and the ocean be protected during construction and from runoff contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides?
  • How will the Marisol Development further the goals of the Del Mar Climate Action Plan? How would greenhouse gases and/or vehicle miles travelled be reduced? What are the “sustainable” measures? Why only LEED Gold, why not Platinum? What are the guarantees of this designation?

See traffic statistics and photos at below   Read the Marisol Initiative yourself (107 pages) at Del Mar’s “9212” evaluation (51 pages) at Respectfully submitted: Concerned Neighbors of the Del Mar Resort Questions or comments or to be added to the emailing list?   Debbie Hecht



From Del Mar City Council member T. Gaasterland –- November 15, 2019

Thoughts on Marisol Initiative

It is important to read the Marisol initiative asking,

  • What is Mandatory and thus Guaranteed? (“shall”, “will” in its sentences)
  • What is Recommended or Desired, and thus NOT guaranteed, i.e., optional? (“should”, “may” in its sentences). And then consider:
  • ?  Do the benefits from the guarantees outweigh the potential risks of approving a four-fold larger zoning box?
  • ?  Do the benefits from the guarantees outweigh the loss of the open space and long views of the bluff from many parts of Del Mar?
  • ?  What are the negative consequences of fourfold increased height, density, and square feet, and allowed commercial use?Would the new use and intensity fundamentally change this part of Del Mar? If yes – Is that Del Mar consistent with our Community Plan’s vision?In a nutshell, here are the Initiative’s guarantees, zoning changes, new “box” defined by the new zoning, and potential vs. limitations for Design Review, as we see them:Initiative’s guarantees include:
  • New allowed uses and new zoning envelope would incentivize development atop the property.
  • New mile of walking paths, including continuation of the Scripps Bluff Preserve trail along the coastal bluff, if developed.
  • Increased property tax revenue to the City, if developed.
  • Opportunity for new sources of sales tax and TOT revenues to the City, if developed with hotelsand amenities.
  • Endowment fund for beach nourishment, amount not specified.
  • 22 affordable housing units.
  • 30-foot setback from Scripps Preserve (is this enough?)
  • Transitional planting with 40% native species around development, width not specified.Initiative’s zoning changes include:
  • 4x bigger v 4x taller
  • 4x denser v 3-stories
  • commercial v commercial v parking
  • 410,000 square feet of interior, above ground space, currently 106,000 46 foot height limit, currently 14 feet for most of the property due to
  • bluff overlay zone
  • up to 107* residences, currently 18 [* 107 = 4 + 27*3 + 22 units]
  • 3-story buildings allowed on about 2/3rds of the property
  • entire property removed from Coastal Bluff Overlay Zone and from Bluff/Slope/Erosion Overlay Zones
  • eastern bluff setbacks reduced from current requirements

Bottom line: Initiative zones a 46-foot tall box with 410,000 sq. ft. in buildings up to 3-stories. 1

T. Gaasterland – November 15, 2019

What is NOT mandatory?  The conceptual layouts, maps, and placement of trails are not mandatory. Choice of numbers of hotel rooms vs. residences vs. other allowed uses is not mandatory. The Design Guidelines make recommendations and set goals, but without guarantees. What else is not mandatory?

Bottom line: Initiative has no guarantee that its concept will be built.

What is POSSIBLE?- Nothing in the Initiative says the hotel and associated amenities must be built. Nothing says any of the conceptual layouts must be built. Thus, the Initiative as written seems to allow the following use:

  • Construction of 410,000 square feet of residence space apportioned among 3-stories (136,000 sq ft per story) in one or more buildings.
  • Would application of the Design Review Ordinances according to the Initiative’s Chapter 4 Design Guidelines be sufficient to ensure the building fits well into Del Mar? Or would a developer told to reduce a proposed footprint beneath what is allowed have a basis to appeal and gain the right to build to the full zoning?

Who gains from increased property value due to increased development allowances?  Once passed, the Initiative would add development value to the bluff-top properties. Currently, a developer has paid for the option to purchase all the properties from the current individual owners. However, once the initiative passes, it is possible the option may be just as valuable as going through with the conceptual plan laid out in the initiative. If the market changes and building becomes costly, could the option be sold? Or could the current owners develop each of their properties on their own?

 Bottom line: Initiative may increase potential property value with no implementation guarantees.



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