Bob is committed to making progress on important City priorities while steering a prudent financial course as the City deals with the budgetary impact of the Covid-19 crisis. A hallmark of Bob’s professional and volunteer work is consensus-building and bringing diverse people together to make a positive difference, and if elected, Bob pledges to seek consensus whenever possible and promote understanding, not division.
Key issues facing Del Mar include:
- Managing the Covid-19 Financial Crisis
- Housing and Local Control
- Limiting Short-Term Rentals in Residential Neighborhoods
- Climate Change, Open Space, and the Environment
- Vitalizing Downtown Business
Managing the Covid-19 Financial Crisis
A significant challenge for City Council is managing the budgetary impact of the Covid-19 crisis. As a member of the City’s Finance Committee for the past 5 years, and as an attorney with experience in corporate governance, Bob is well-prepared to step up to this challenge. Bob is committed to making progress on important City priorities even as we confront this crisis.
No one can predict the course of the pandemic, or how long economic recovery will take. It should be clear by now, however, it isn’t a choice between controlling the pandemic and achieving economic recovery – rather, our economic well-being is inextricably tied to successful management of the health crisis. Given the uncertainties, it is crucial that we elect leaders who can steer a prudent but nimble course as circumstances change quickly and unpredictably.
Bob says, “I hope to help advance Del Mar’s core priorities and values as a council member, and I believe I have the legal and financial experience to work collaboratively with Council, staff, and our phenomenal deep bench of citizen activists to make that happen, even as we manage the Covid-19 crisis.”
Housing and Local Control
We are under a state mandate to update our city development regulations to 1) preserve existing housing stock, 2) address homelessness and special needs, (3) provide housing to meet the needs of all economic segments of the community and (4) to accommodate 209 new units (163 RHNA assigned units in cycle 6 plus 46 carry over units from cycle 5). This is a huge challenge for a small town like Del Mar where land is very expensive and already substantially built out; little vacant land is available. But if we don’t take ownership of this problem, the State will take over and we will forfeit local control.
Del Mar must pursue all available avenues that are consistent with our Community Plan to establish a meaningful level of affordable housing. Too many people in our community view affordable housing as a threat, but Bob sees it as an opportunity to build (or return to) a more vibrant, diverse community. He supports incentives to create affordable housing in Del Mar’s commercial district as a means of revitalizing the downtown area in a manner consistent with our Community Plan, that promotes GHG reduction, and fosters sustainability by locating housing next to employment. He also supports requiring new multi-occupant residential developments to include affordable housing units, promoting the creation of new covenant-protected affordable ADU “granny flats” through FAR bonuses (as currently offered by Del Mar in a pilot program, which could be expanded), and an amnesty program for legalizing ADUs that have been operating out of compliance with the Code.
Bob also supports working with the 22nd DAA to explore housing opportunities at the fairgrounds, including, among other options, potentially transforming dilapidated quarters for backtrack workers into affordable, livable residences.
Limiting Short-Term Rentals in Residential Neighborhoods
Bob supports Del Mar’s adopted 7/28 program for STRs as a reasonable compromise that protects residential neighborhoods and preserves housing stock for residential use, instead of losing it to the more lucrative short-term rental business. The 7/28 plan allows some STR uses in residential zones, while allowing essentially unlimited STR uses in most commercial and visitor zones and time-shares. He believes that unregulated proliferation of STRs would have a significant negative impact on our community in many ways: forcing residents to live next to “mini-hotels,” eroding the “special residential character” promised to us by our Community Plan, which carefully separates residential and business/visitor uses; and decreasing housing opportunities for those who want to live here as full-time residents. Trading residents for short-term visitors also erodes our tradition of resident volunteerism and citizen activism that has long made Del Mar a special place to live and raise our families. Residents, not visitors, sustain that important work.
SANDAG data documents the loss of residential housing due to short-term rentals (and 2nd home ownership, also a growing issue in Del Mar). When our Community Plan was adopted, Del Mar was more diverse than it is today, in part because many university students lived in Del Mar, renting beach-area housing during the off-season (the school year), with the owners returning to use them each summer. We need look only to San Diego beach communities where STRs have proliferated to see what our future could be, if we don’t act to protect the vision of our Community Plan.
Climate Change, Open Space and the Environment
Del Mar has an excellent, comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CAP), which was adopted in 2016 thanks to the excellent work of our entire community, our Sustainability Advisory Board, and Council leadership, particularly from SAB’s Council liaisons. We have made great progress toward achieving the goals contained in the CAP. Del Mar reached its 2020 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% one year ahead of schedule, and is well on its way toward achieving its longer-term goal of reducing these emissions by 50% no later than 2035. It is critical, however, that we remain vigilant if we are to continue our strong progress.
If elected to City Council, Bob will prioritize resources and funding to implement and strengthen Del Mar’s Climate Action Plan, and will be a staunch advocate for measures that address climate change and mitigate its impact in a meaningful way, including water conservation and promotion of recycled water use, as well as Del Mar’s SCOUP sand replenishment program. As a council member, he will support creating incentives in our Code to include environmentally friendly features as part of new residential and commercial development in Del Mar.
Bob is also a strong supporter of the new Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) as a key strategy of our Climate Action Plan and a means of decreasing our community’s reliance on fossil fuels. Other CEA benefits: bringing down our electricity costs and giving us local control over our energy future. As a member of the City’s Finance Committee, Bob closely reviewed the financial issues, and supported Del Mar joining the Clean Energy Alliance as a founding member along with neighboring communities Carlsbad and Solana Beach. Having closely studied the CEA’s structure as a JPA, and the CEA’s financial pro formas, Bob is confident that the CEA is on sound financial footing, and that the JPA serves as a firewall to protect the City from any significant financial risk. The pandemic-related financial crisis does not support delaying the CEA, given that the initial start-up work is well underway, and delay will only cause a delay in revenues, without saving City funds, since the City’s contribution to start-up costs has already been made. “If anything,” Bob notes, “the pandemic underscores the imperative that we take science-based action to address climate change now – deferring action comes at too high a cost for all of us, and especially our children.”
Vitalizing Downtown Business
Bob is committed to do everything possible to create and maintain the vibrant, walkable downtown area that is envisioned by our Community Plan. He strongly supports the recent efforts to reverse the slow, steady decline our downtown district suffered over the recent past, including projects such as Streetscape, the new, environmentally-friendly Civic Center, and the 941 Development on the site of the old gas station. Bob believes that we need to implement policies that will encourage businesses to remain in Del Mar and help them to thrive. He envisions a downtown where residents can enjoy a meal, grab a coffee, pick up some groceries, or maybe even buy a hammer or screwdriver, rather than take their business across the freeway. Bob also believes that there is a great potential for the inclusion of affordable housing in the downtown district, which will increase its vibrancy while benefiting our local merchants.