A housing project that would include 259 apartments has been proposed for a Del Mar site that had been slated for a luxury hotel resort until it was rejected by city voters in a 2020 referendum.
The new plan for a project called Seaside Ridge at 929 Border Ave. on a Del Mar bluff has been proposed by the owner of the property, philanthropist Carol Lazier.
Lazier is a patron and board member of the San Diego Opera who helped save the opera in 2014 with a $1 million donation. She bought the Seaside Ridge site in July 2000 from Scripps Health for $20 million, with an additional $5 million going to the Scripps Foundation as a donation.
Until voters killed the project, Zephyr Partners and The Robert Green Co. had planned to build a 65-room resort hotel, 31 villas and 21 affordable apartments on the site overlooking Dog Beach in a project that they called Marisol.
“After 20-plus years of ownership of the land and multiple attempts to develop the property as a hotel resort, it has become clear that a mixed-income community is the most beneficial use of the land for the city and the region,” said Darren Pudgil, a project spokesman for Lazier.
“This project, which is conveniently located near major transportation corridors and in close proximity to large employment centers in Sorrento Mesa and Carlsbad, features a scaled design sensitive to the coastal bluff and ensures public safety,” Pudgil said, adding that it “will provide equitable coastal access for a range of income groups.”
The new plan, crafted by FRANK architects would include 42 apartments earmarked for low income renters and 43 for moderate income renters.
The overall project, including market rate and affordable apartments, would include a mix of studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, and three-bedroom apartments. They would range from 489 square feet to 1,176 square feet.
The apartments would be spread over nine buildings ranging from one to five levels tall. The average building height would be 25 feet to a maximum of 55 feet. The buildings would be terraced from west to east with the tallest building on the east end of the site.
There would be parking for 305 vehicles with 288 spaces reserved for residents.
“State law requires cities to streamline housing projects like Seaside Ridge. As such, we expect the city to approve our coastal permit by the end of next year, “Pudgil said.
“The city’s plan check process would then begin and last about six to eight months. Construction of the project would then commence and take approximately two years to complete.”
That timeline assumes that the project could be approved as an administrative matter by city planners and wouldn’t be subject to City Council review.
Lawyers for Lazier contend that the project could be approved administratively, in part because the city has not met its required number of new housing units set out in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
The project would require a zoning change, which typically requires council approval.
City officials contend that the city has as a sufficient inventory of sites with correct zoning to meet state requirements, so that Seaside Ridge as part of its permitting would require council review to get a needed zoning change.
The city also contends that other permits requiring council approval are needed, which could delay the project.