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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

City of Del MarCandidate for City Council

Photo of Dwight Worden

Dwight Worden

1,179 votes (43.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Protecting the special character our neighborhoods and advancing local control to protect core Del Mar values set forth in our Community Plan, including reasonable STR regulations, updated DRB process, and science-based planning for sea level rise.
  • Protecting open space and the environment, as I have done for decades as a former land use attorney, author of the Beach Preservation Initiative (BPI), and community volunteer working to protect our lagoons, beach & open spaces.
  • Implementation of undergrounding, Shores Park master planning and development, and Streetscape as promised by Measure Q, together with strong financial oversight of city finances, ensuring balanced budget & adequate reserves.



Profession:Mayor, City of Del Mar
Commissioner, California Coastal Commission — Appointed position (1977–not availa)
Councilmember, City of Del Mar, City Council, City of Del Mar — Elected position (2014–current)
City Attorney, City of Del Mar — Appointed position (1997–1983)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Sierra Club
  • League of Conservation Voters San Diego
  • Take Action Group Indivisible Del Mar

Organizations (1)

  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters North County San Diego (3)

Do you support increasing the housing density in Del Mar? What other options might there be for improving the City's supply of affordable housing?
Answer from Dwight Worden:

Meeting our affordable housing targets is a high priority of mine. I am committed to the "22-in-5" program to achieve 22 affordable units in 5 years (noting that we are several years into that 5-year process). I fully support a  robust community discussion of the options outlined in the 22-in-5 Report and a community-based decision-making process that will result in full compliance with Del Mar's affordable housing mandate. In some instances, an increase in density is part of our adopted and certified Housing Element (for the Watermark property, for example), and I am committed to fulfilling our obligations set forth in the Housing Element. I supported the recent changes with respect to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior ADUs that have the potential to increase Del Mar's supply of affordable housing. Given Del Mar's very small size and limited amount of property available for development, density bonuses alone will not result in an increase in our supply of affordable housing, so I am committed to finding the creative approaches beyond housing density that will achieve our state-mandated affordable housing targets. As a Councilmember, I am already part of a team engaging the 22nd DAA Board about opportunities to provide affordable housing on fairgrounds property, including housing for workers, and potential use of the adjacent RV park.

Do you approve of the City's current approach to addressing the problems of homelessness in Del Mar? What specific changes, if any, would you make?
Answer from Dwight Worden:

Del Mar has committed, dedicated volunteers and organizations (especially St. Peter's and its programs including its interfaith shelter program) who are well-informed and well-positioned to help Del Mar address homelessiness in our city, and to identify what the City can do better in this regard. We  know through them, for example, that many unsheltered people in our area are seniors, and that storage to help protect from loss of vital possessions is an important issue for the unsheltered. I am committed to working closely with these volunteers and organizations to modify our approach to these problems as needed, to better address identified needs and to focus on successful strategies.

Question 3: MARIJUANA

Do you advocate any changes to Del Mar's current policies regarding recreational and medical cannabis businesses? Please explain.

No answer provided.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Dwight's Key Priorities and Issues


Dwight's key priorities and issues, including: short-term rentals; protecting neighborhoods with updated DRB guidelines and process; protecting local control as the best means to protect Del Mar values, including the Beach Preservation Initiative authored by Dwight that has served Del Mar well for 30 years; a safe, legal rail crossing and removal of the rails from the bluffs; removal of hazardous radioactive waste from San Onofre; and more.

Dwight's Key Priorities and Issues

Short Term Rentals

Dwight has championed the protection of Del Mar neighborhoods from intensive STR uses that commercialize residential neighborhoods. He supports the “7-28” program that allows unlimited STRs in visitor and commercial zones that are intended for commercial use, and restricts STRs in residential zones, allowing them for up to 28 days per year in minimum 7-day increments. This program ensures that Del Mar residents do not have intensive-use “mini-hotel” STRs in their neighborhoods, in keeping with the Community Plan’s overall goal to “preserve and enhance the special character of Del Mar, the elements of which are a village like community of substantially single family residential character…” The 7-28 program allows residents to rent their homes while on vacation, etc., but does not allow conversion of residences to commercial use. It protects our housing stock, including rental housing that many full-time residents rely on, and it protects neighbors from the intensive uses that STRs bring, including a constant turnover of visitors in “vacation” mode. Dwight supports the legal action recently filed by the City seeking a ruling that the City, and not the Coastal Commission, has authority to regulate STRs by our local zoning power.

Protecting Neighborhoods with updated DRB Guidelines and Process

Dwight supports a strong Design Review Board process as a key way to fulfill the Community Plan’s goals of maintaining our special neighborhood character. As council liaison to the Ad Hoc DRB committee, he assisted with all aspects of the committee’s work, and was a leading supporter at council for the resulting new guidelines, neighbor manuals, and CPP revisions. The new DRB Guidelines provide clearer guidance on design issues and should help reduce subjectivity in the design review process. The revised Citizens’ Participation Program (CPP) provides opportunities for applicants to understand and respond to neighbor concerns about a project’s design early in the process.


Protecting Open Space and the Environment 

Dwight has spent his entire career advocating for open space and environmental protection, and these are high priorities for his work on Council. He played a leading role in securing restoration of the San Dieguito Lagoon as legal counsel for the River Park JPA and as a volunteer, and he remains a strong advocate for protection of the lagoon as a River Park JPA Board member and volunteer. He has worked to preserve key open space, including successfully handling Del Mar litigation to preserve Crest Canyon. He is the author of the Beach Preservation Initiative (BPI), which removed private encroachments from the public beach, and secured the right for private owners to protect their property, including with appropriately designed seawalls.

Protecting Local Control as the Best Means to Protect Del Mar Values

Dwight has a documented history of advancing local control over a wide range of issues that are key to protecting Del Mar values, and a deep commitment to protecting local control as we confront new challenges. 

Dwight drafted
 the Downtown Initiative (Measure B), adopted by Del Mar voters in 1986, which secured the right of a public vote on four major downtown projects: the Del Mar Plaza, approved by the voters in 1987; the Del Mar Hotel (now l’Auberge), approved by the voters in 1987, the Garden Del Mar project, approved by voters in 2008 (now replaced by the 941 Specific Plan, which will be on the November ballot), and Prop. J (downtown revitalization), rejected by voters in 2012.Though Measure B has been deemed no longer enforceable, for 20+ years, it gave Del Mar residents a strong voice that helped shape each of these projects for the better. Dwight will continue to support maximum public participation in the review of major development projects.

Dwight drafted the Beach Preservation Initiative (BPI)
 that holds the Coastal Commission to Del Mar’s standards for seawalls as set out in the BPI and our Local Coastal Program, rather than relying on its own assessment of the appropriate standard under the Coastal Act. This seawall authority is vital to the protection of both public and private property in Del Mar and has served Del Mar well for 30 years.

Dwight supports our recently-adopted Adaption Plan, and its inclusion in our Local Coastal Program (LCP), to give Del Mar maximum control over how we respond to sea level rise. The Council recently adopted a strong Adaptation Plan that sets forth measures tailored for and appropriate to Del Mar for adapting to sea level rise. Together with the BPI, the Adaptation Plan, if included in our LCP, will give Del Mar a strong basis for controlling how Del Mar responds to sea level rise. This includes the Adaptation Plan’s conclusion that managed retreat is not a feasible strategy to protect Del Mar’s public beach and private property, and setting forth other strategies, including sand management, retention, and replenishment, and sea walls in conformance with the BPI, that are better strategies for Del Mar.

Dwight drafted the Charter Amendment on the ballot this November to enhance local control by providing that all land use and zoning matters not pre-empted by federal or state law are governed by Del Mar as a charter city, rather than under general state law provisions imposed in Sacramento.

Dwight supports local control of STRs rather than Coastal Commission-imposed rules. (See above). 

Dwight supports more local control over fairgrounds activities
, including the Fair, races, Kaaboo, proposed Race Place concert venue, etc., to mitigate noise, traffic, and other impacts to Del Mar. Dwight also supports ending the gun shows at the Fairgrounds. In particular, Dwight champions an LCP Amendment so Del Mar can gain
permit authority over certain fairgrounds activities. He is also actively working with Solana Beach and the Fair to implement traffic improvements for the 2019 Fair.

A Safe, Legal, Rail Crossing and Removal of the Rails from the Bluff

Dwight supports securing a safe, legal, rail crossing in the near term, to allow residents and visitors to safely reach the beach; and removal of the rails from the bluffs in the longer term. Dwight helped secure SANDAG funding for a feasibility update with respect to removing the rails from the bluff into a tunnel (that update is currently in process). He also initiated a program to work with north coast cities and NCTD to secure a safe, legal rail crossing in the near term, with that work also in process.

Removal of Hazardous Radioactive Waste from San Onofre

Dwight supports the removal of the highly hazardous radioactive waste, including spent fuel rods, from the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), to safe interim storage off-site, pending availability of a safe long-term storage solution for nuclear waste. Currently, 3.6 million pounds of highly radioactive waste are stored at San Onofre, and is being moved into concrete-encased storage canisters near the beach, placing everything within a 50-mile radius (including Del Mar) at risk. Dwight co-authored the 2017 Del Mar Resolution calling for removal of this waste to a safe off-site location, and will work with authorities, from federal to local, to achieve this goal.

And more:  Measure Q Funds, a Vibrant Downtown, Affordable Housing, Prudent Financial Planning and Oversight, and our Grassroots-Up System of Governance

Dwight supports:

  • Implementation of undergrounding, Shores Park master planning and development, and Streetscape as promised by Measure Q.
  • Promoting a vibrant downtown that will serve the community. This includes implementing our full streetscape plan, and supporting a 941 Camino Del Mar project that will improve the southern portion of our downtown. Dwight worked with the entire Council to bring to fruition the new Civic Center on schedule and on budget, with strong sustainability features, and a Town Hall and outdoor plazas that have already demonstrated that they will serve the community for both informal gatherings and community nonprofit events.
  • Implementation of the Council’s “22 in 5” plan to meet Del Mar’s state-mandated affordable housing obligations. Our first two affordable housing units will be attained with the 941 Camino Del Mar project, assuming voter approval in Del Mar this November, and Dwight is working on a wide range of other affordable housing options, as outlined in the 22 in 5 report. His commitment is to meet our affordable housing obligations in ways that are consistent with our Community Plan and our special neighborhood character.
  • A balanced budget and strong financial oversight of city finances. Dwight will continue to support a strong Finance Committee oversight role in making sure that our finances are managed in a smart and prudent fashion.
  • Our system of volunteer advisory committees, which have long ensured that Del Mar governance is firmly rooted in a grassroots-up process.

Above all, Dwight’s goal is to protect this very special place we have chosen to call home, guided by the Community Plan and informed by the active community-driven decision-making process we know as the Del Mar way.

Why Dwight Is Running, His Qualifications, and His Track Record


Why Dwight is running for City Council; his background, track record,  and priorities; and his experience and qualifications. See for the 140+ people who have endorsed Dwight's campaign, and endorsement statements from a broad range of citizens.

Why Dwight is running:

My roots in Del Mar are deep, reflecting decades of work protecting Del Mar as a special place to live.

As a Del Mar resident since 1981, former City Attorney, city committee and nonprofit volunteer, lawyer, and most recently as your councilmember and Mayor, I have championed resident priorities: honoring our Community Plan; lagoon restoration; a public vote on major downtown developments; downtown vibrancy; protecting our environment and open space; and removal of stored nuclear waste from San Onofre. I authored the Beach Preservation Initiative (BPI) which has protected our most valuable environmental asset for three decades. I support and am committed to our Climate Action Plan.

I have a proven track record finding practical solutions while respecting divergent viewpoints. I championed short term rental regulations that allow unlimited STRs in visitor zones and limited STR uses in residential zones to protect residential neighborhoods; improving our DRB process; completing our Civic Center on time and on budget; implementing streetscape; a balanced budget and strong financial condition; and fostering civility and respect in our decision-making.

My priorities include: Shores Park; safe, legal beach access across the tracks and ultimate removal of the tracks from the bluff; responsibly addressing sea level rise; fostering sustainability; mitigating fairgrounds impacts including traffic; meeting affordable housing mandates consistent with community goals; maintaining infrastructure through street paving and the like; and strong public participation in review of major development projects. I bring a “deep dive” approach to complex issues, will listen to all viewpoints, and remain committed to preserving the special residential character of our neighborhoods in everything we do.

I ask for your vote. In turn, I pledge to listen, to be civil to all, and to work hard for Del Mar every day of the four year term you entrust to me.

Experience & Qualifications:

Current mayor; Councilmember since 2014

Del Mar City Attorney, 1977-83; special counsel through the 1990s

General Counsel, North County Transit District (NCTD), 1983-2001

General Counsel, San Dieguito River Park JPA from its inception until Dwight’s retirement in 2001

25+ years’ experience as a land use, environmental, and local government attorney, representing citizen groups, environmental groups, cities, special districts, regional governments, and individuals

Appointed to Coastal Commission by Gov. Brown (1977) and Senate President Mills (approx. 1980)

In Del Mar, Dwight has long been a volunteer for local nonprofits and City advisory committees, including serving on the City’s Form Based Code Committee, Fairgrounds Master Plan Committee, and Garden Del Mar Committee; volunteering for Del Mar Community Connections to explore a low-interest loan program for seniors for undergrounding costs; former Board member and summer concerts chair for the Del Mar Foundation; and Friends of the San Dieguito Lagoon volunteer.

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