Objective Design Standards



Program 6G of the City's certified 6th Cycle Housing Element commits the City to create new Objective Design Standards (ODS), involving "measurable and verifiable" criteria, that can be applied to development projects where the City's discretion using the Design Review process is otherwise preempted per State law. These "standards" are intended to apply to any by-right/ministerially processed multi-unit and mixed-use housing development projects that include an affordable housing component. 

Del Mar Municipal Code Chapter 23.08 is the City's Design Review Ordinance that sets forth the existing discretionary permit process requirement for design review. The intent is to foster good design in a way that implements the Community Plan. State Housing law includes various exemptions for projects with an affordable housing component which limit the City's ability to apply the discretionary Design Review Ordinance requirements to such projects. Through this program the City will prepare and process a new set of objective design standards for adoption in a new Chapter under the Title 23 Building and Construction regulations. The intent is to have these objective design standards available to apply to housing projects where the City's discretion over design review is otherwise preempted per State law. 


To assist the City with guidance of implementing Objective Design Standards, the City is working with Ascent Environmental, Inc. The process for implementing Objective Design Standards requires input from the community. As such, the City will be hosting various meetings with the Design Review Board to advise on the creation of the design standards and to provide input and feedback at various stages. Once drafted, the Planning Commission will review the draft standards and implementing ordinance and provide a recommendation to the City Council.

Public Workshops and Anticipated Timeline

On December 6, 2023, City staff and Ascent (consultant) conducted a joint public workshop with the Planning Commission (PC) and Design Review Board (DRB) to initiate the process of developing Objective Design Standards. Links to the on-demand video, the consultant's presentation, and the anticipated schedule for development of the ODS can be found below. 

PUBLIC SURVEY - We want to hear your thoughts about Design Standards!

Following the December 6, 2023 Workshop, staff released a brief online survey for gathering information from the public regarding the types of protections and design outcomes the community would like to gain from the ODS. Please use the link below to take the survey through January 8, 2024. 

Stay Updated

Public participation is essential when developing new regulations such as the ODS. To stay informed and fully participate in the process, please sign up to receive email notifications of all upcoming meetings and opportunities to provide review and comment.