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Del Mar Initiative Would Restrict Size Of Beach-Front Mansions

Homes line the beach in Del Mar, Nov. 1, 2017.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: Homes line the beach in Del Mar, Nov. 1, 2017.

Wealthy Del Mar property owners are fighting over the size of homes they can build along the beach. The issue is likely to become a ballot initiative.

Some of the most expensive homes in San Diego County are on low-lying beach areas in Del Mar, in a community that is potentially at risk from sea-level rise. But property owners continue to build ever-larger mansions on their oceanfront lots.

Some homeowners are opposed to a proposed initiative that would limit the size of new homes built on lots bordered by the high tide line.

Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said homes in Del Mar are restricted by the size of the lot.

"This initiative would lock in that you don’t get to count the sandy part of the beach in computing the size of your home," he said, "and that causes a lot of concern and unhappiness to people down there who, right or wrong, have had the impression that they do get to count the sandy beach."

Worden said property owners worry this would lower their property values.

The houses affected are in an area where the city has studied the effects of sea level rise. Property owners rejected an initial version of the report, also out of concerns that it would affect their property values.

Worden said the city council is likely to send the initiative to the ballot rather than adopt it next month, assuming enough valid signatures are verified.

He said the initiative would not affect public access to the beach.

Del Mar property owners are fighting over the size of homes they can build along the beach. The issue is likely to become a ballot initiative.

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