Year in review: City of Solana Beach makes marked progress in 2009

By Solana Beach Sun Staff

Crunching numbers

Given the national economic outlook, Solana Beach's major accomplishment going into 2009 was balancing its budget.

Despite conservative budgeting, the financial crisis forced Solana Beach to cut expenditures and consider new sources of revenue in order to make up for shortfalls projected in 2009 and 2010. City workers also had to forgo pay raises and city services were cut.

Coastal plan remains unfinished

The Coastal Commission granted Solana Beach more time to fine tune its Local Coastal Program (LCP), which dictates all development proposed along the coast. The process of finding a compromise both bluff-top homeowners and environmentalists can agree to has already taken several years.

The public was invited to comment on a revised Land Use Plan in August. The latest proposal was a revision on a plan rejected in June 2008 by the Coastal Commission.

In September the council approved a revised LCP after listening to opposition and concern about the revision process. That plan was sent to the Coastal Commission and will likely be reviewed sometime in the spring of 2010, giving the city time to work with commission staff on further revisions.

Fairgrounds in the news

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a plan to sell the Del Mar Fairgrounds in an effort to help close the state's $21 billion budget deficit. Area residents overwhelmingly came out to oppose the idea.

In October, the 22nd District Agricultural Association, the state body that operates the fairgrounds, released a draft environmental impact report for its master plan.

Residents are concerned about increased traffic, light and noise pollution and a myriad of other possibilities, should the development go through. The 22nd DAA, however, says it has made a strong effort to address those concerns in its DEIR and that the expansion would bring more revenue to surrounding cities.

The public has until Jan. 8 to submit comments on the DEIR. To view the report, visit www.sdfair.com.

Environmental leadership

The Sierra Club gave the city honorable mention in its Cool Cities contest in July, and the city has high hopes for a better spot in the contest in the coming years.

Thanks to Sequoia Solar, Solana Beach is now home to one of the county's first solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations.

In February, the council approved the Solana Beach Living Forests Carbon Offset Program, a partnership with nonprofit Nature and Culture International to preserve a pristine area of tropical forest in southern Ecuador equal in size to the 2,000-acre city in an effort to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

Booze banned

The council voted on May 27 to make a temporary alcohol beach ban permanent after a successful trial run, which prevented increased drinking and related problems at Fletcher Cove.

Community center

Residents formed the Solana Beach Foundation with its first goal to raise funds for an extensive remodel of the Fletcher Cove Community Center. Plans for the renovation were unveiled in July, created by volunteer design professionals, community members and city staff.

Teach them well

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