Since Del Sur won a Smart Growth Award in 2006 for Approved Suburban Project, the community has literally come to life.
• 600 market rate homes and 200 affordable apartments are built and occupied (with 2,260 units still to be built)
• Four new parks, each with unique amenities, have opened (with four parks still to be built).
• Two new schools have welcomed their inaugural classes (Del Sur Elementary opened fall 2008 and Del Norte High opened in fall 2009).
• 18 miles of hiking trails are in place between Del Sur and its sister community, Santaluz.
• Three builders resumed sales in the first quarter of 2010 with more residential lots to be released and additional product added to the housing mix in 2011.
Although Del Sur has been dinged by critics for its suburban location, the definition of smart growth must rationally go beyond urban infill. SANDAG’s most recent statistics (2006) show that by every measure (employment, retail, office and industrial space, as well as projected employment for 2030), the North City region is the true “center” of San Diego. Far from being “in the middle of nowhere,” Del Sur is in the heart of San Diego commerce, retail, education and recreation. And at build out, Del Sur will have its own Town Center offering retail, commercial and office uses as well as a Del Sur shuttle for connection to a bus rapid transit system.
Del Sur is the product of nearly 20 years of community-based planning by the property owner, city of San Diego, surrounding communities and environmental organizations including the Sierra Club. Approved by San Diego voters in 1998, it was founded on the principle that an economically viable, highly desirable and interactive community that incorporates smart growth, environmental conservation and sustainability is a model for future development. As it matures and evolves, Del Sur is becoming a prototype for suburban greenfield development.
Since it opened in 2006, Del Sur has been acknowledged for its sustainable practices by the following organizations:
• Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform (POWER) in 2008 honored Del Sur with a Water Policy Award (the only private development to win this award).
• USGBC recognized the Del Sur Ranch House with a LEED Platinum certification in 2007.
• California presented the Governor’s Awards for Environmental and Economic Leadership to Del Sur in 2007 for its commitment to developing socially responsible and environmentally friendly practices that promote environmental protection and economic growth.
The architectural theme of Del Sur reflects San Diego’s classic neighborhoods such as Mission Hills and Rancho Santa Fe. Housing options at Del Sur currently include apartments, condominiums, attached town homes and paired residences (both alley- and street-loaded) as well as single-family homes and custom lots.
When voters approved the Del Sur project in 1998, Black Mountain Ranch LLC became the largest single private contributor to the city of San Diego’s Multiple Habitat Planning Area of the Multiple Species Conservation Program. More than 1,900 acres are set aside to support threatened habitat and endangered species and for hiking trails and recreation.
Within the 4,677 acres of Black Mountain Ranch are approximately 1,760 acres of this open space set aside for the San Dieguito River Park. In addition, approximately, 1,060 acres of private open space is permanently protected by restrictive easements. Public neighborhood and community parks add 50 acres to the open space system for a total exceeding 2,870 acres. As restored by the developers of Del Sur, the new 60-acre Lusardi Creek wetlands area establishes a wildlife corridor and habitat for local animal species, helps mitigate construction runoff as Del Sur’s development continues, and will positively impact local water quality in the coming decades.
Del Sur aims to help limit the demand the community would otherwise place on shared resources such as energy, water and air quality. To further its mission of promoting environmentally sustainable design, construction and living practices, Del Sur continues to pursue efforts to educate various audiences about ways to limit demand on natural resources. Communitywide, a minimum of 20 percent of homes will include photovoltaic energy systems, and the option to incorporate a photovoltaic system will be available in most homes. Reclaimed water is used throughout Del Sur for community landscaping, and native and drought-tolerant plants help reduce the amount of landscaping water required. In addition, Del Sur diverts construction waste and reuses the byproducts on-site through a program that will continue throughout the entire construction period.
[CAPTION=Street scene of Smart Growth Award nominee Del Sur.]