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In addition to the DRB permit described above, some projects also require review by the City’s Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is a five-member citizen committee appointed by the City Council. The Planning Commission reviews and acts on various discretionary permits such as variances and conditional use permits, and advises the City Council on other land use matters such as zoning amendments and subdivisions. The Planning Commission generally meets once a month at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The steps involved in submittal of plans for Planning Commission review and the review process itself are roughly the same as that described above for the Design Review Board.
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With these factors in mind, the easiest route to gain DRB approval generally involves meetings with staff for guidance on design and zoning issues, along with visits with surrounding residents to determine the character of a neighborhood and assesses potential impacts.
Briefly, the steps involve submittal of a completed application form, a fee and accompanying documents and plans. Staff reviews the submitted material for two purposes. The first is to ensure that the project meets the applicable zoning requirements (Title 30 - Del Mar Municipal Code). The second is to verify that the submittal has all the information required to adequately assess the project and complete a staff report for DRB review (Title 23.08 - Del Mar Municipal Code). The DRB reviews the project at a noticed public hearing at which time the applicant and other interested parties may address the DRB. The DRB then determines whether the project meets the Design Review Ordinance (DRO) standards and whether to approve the project, usually with conditions; deny the project; or continue the application to a subsequent hearing to gain additional information or to allow the applicant to respond to concerns that may have been raised by Board members or the public. Once the City’s Design Review Board approves a project, the applicant (usually the architect) prepares a more detailed set of “working” drawings for submittal to the Building Department for plan check review and ultimately receipt of building permits. The review and issuance of building permits is actually done by EsGil Corporation, which, as stated above, serves under contract as the City’s Building Department and operates out of offices at Solana Beach City Hall. City staff will also review the detailed “working” drawings, and issue an Authorization Form stating that the plans can be submitted for building permits. City of Solana Beach Building Services Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed between noon and 1 p.m. daily) and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed alternate Fridays).Solana Beach Building Permit Counter: 858-720-4450 635 S. Highway 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075
While the language of the standards is broad, when the Design Review members use the Ordinance, they make specific, detailed findings to tie the standards to the particular project proposed.
The use of the DRO has played a large role in protecting the community character of Del Mar.
While you are not precluded from waiting until the DRB meeting to express your concerns, we have found the process to be more effective when staff and the project architect are aware of potential objections ahead of the public hearing. This also allows the DRB members an opportunity to review your objection at the project site before the meeting.
If your objection involves the potential for view blockage, additional information is available in a handout found at the Planning Department counter at City Hall. The handout will help you more clearly identify and document your objections for the DRB.
Yes, decisions of both the DRB and PC may be appealed to the City Council. Appeals must be filed with the City Clerk within 10 working days of a DRB/PC decision and must be accompanied by the required fee. Del Mar Municipal Code (DMMC) Chapter 1.12 governs the appeal process. The DMMC is published on our website.