Resident sues city over City Hall project.
By Bianca Kaplanek | August 3, 2016
MAR A homeowner is suing the city over its civic center
project, but he isnt seeking financial gain nor does
he want to stop the development.
not the buildings themselves, said Everett DeLano, the
attorney representing Steven Mack, who lives on 10th Street
just south of the project site. If this were just City
Hall and all the traditional uses none of that hes
opposed to. The Town Hall is the elephant in the room thats
driving his concerns.
said he and Mack have met with city officials since
the get-go to clearly define the potential future uses
of that building and an outdoor plaza, which werent
specified or addressed in the environmental impact report.
talked about concerts with no limitation on hours, DeLano
said. They said they would only be for community groups
or nonprofits. Im active with nonprofits. I know from
experience that those kids of events can go late and they
can be loud.
said adding to the already approved permits specific commitments
of potential uses of the town hall area and plaza that would
create limits to guarantee the site would be consistent with
the neighborhood could make the lawsuit go away.
parameters include limiting attendance at any function to
no more than 250 people and allowing activities other than
the City Council meetings, such as performances, community
gatherings and art exhibits, only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
said the goal is not to bash city officials.
their credit, theyve been more responsive than most
cities, he said. We sat and discussed our concerns
with (city staff) really early on. But we couldnt come
to a resolution.
best they could do was agree to a permit process, he
added. But you can drive a Mack truck through that process.
of the existing building, which was built in the 1920s for
Del Mars first public school, is complete.
will be replaced with an 8,700-square-foot City Hall, a 3,200-square-foot
Town Hall with a 250-person seating capacity, a 950-square-foot
breezeway, a 500-square-foot catering kitchen, about 140 parking
spaces and a 15,000-square-foot public plaza.
latter was a high priority for many residents to accommodate
the farmers market.
is an additional 11,000 square feet of open space for future
undefined development. City officials said whatever is built
there will require separate environmental and design review
that includes a public input process.
Mack has concerns about those areas as well, his current concerns
focus on the use of the Town Hall and plaza.
the vagueness thats the problem, DeLano said.
The square footage could accommodate a number of people,
and with that comes cars and noise. Thats a lot to be
going on in a residential neighborhood.
is not a traditional location for a City Hall by any stretch,
he added. Ive never seen one in a residential
members were briefed on the lawsuit by the city attorney during
a closed meeting Aug. 1, but no action was taken. Mayor Sherryl
Parks and the city attorney said they could not comment at
request for construction bids for the $17.8 million project
was just released. Council members expect to award the contract
next month. Work should begin in October and is estimated
to take 18 months.
city is in the process of demolishing the outdated City Hall
at 1050 Camino Del Mar to make way for a new $18 million complex
that would include a multipurpose town hall building, an administrative
building and a civic plaza.
lawsuit was filed in February by Steven Mack, who owns a home
across the street from City Hall. The suit says the city plans
to allow the civic center to be used for public and private
functions, but the environmental report did not address how
those events would affect nearby residents or how the city
would mitigate impacts such as noise and traffic. Environmental
reports are required by state law to identify and address
any potential problems caused by a development.
officials were not available for comment Monday and Tuesday,
but in court documents they denied the allegations.
DeLano, an attorney representing Mack, said his client doesnt
want to disrupt construction of the new complex, but he wants
some checks on how it will operate. For instance, he said,
Mack wants events limited to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., with
no more than 250 attendees. There should also be lighting,
traffic and noise control plans.
city acknowledged there could be weddings, events, performances
outdoors using amplified sound equipment, with no limits on
the number of people, the number of cars, or the type of sound
equipment, DeLano said. Thats like bringing
a small outdoor concert into a residential neighborhood.
suit also points out that the city is setting aside several
areas which total over 11,000 square feet of space
within the 1.5-acre property for future development,
but doesnt provide any information on what those uses
said in the environmental report that any future development
on the property would have to undergo its own design review
and environmental analysis. City officials have floated the
idea of building a cafe or a restaurant or some other commercial
development on those areas.
said the state environmental regulations require that the
city provide some analysis of those future uses.
City Council unanimously voted in January to approved the
environmental report prepared by San Diego-based Recon Environmental
said his client and city officials tried to negotiate an agreement
but those talks failed.
Mar had been talking for years about how to replace its nearly
60-year-old City Hall. A former schoolhouse built in 1956,
the building is about 9,200 square feet, but nearly half of
it is limited to storage due to safety concerns. Demolition
began on the old building last month and construction of the
new facility is scheduled to begin in October.
the work, a temporary City Hall has been created at the South
Fair complex at 2010 Jimmy Durante Boulevard.
Civic Center complex will feature a 3,200-square-foot town
hall on the southwest corner of the existing City Hall property
on Camino Del Mar.
the town hall, a separate 9,250-square-foot administrative
building would house city offices and workers and a 15,000-square-foot
civic plaza would provide open space for community activities.
complex will sit on top of an underground, two-level parking
garage with about 160 spots, covering the eastern two thirds
of the property along Camino Del Mar between Tenth and Eleventh
status hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for October.