City examines fairgrounds' future vision
The city of Del Mar is taking a team approach to tackling the 4,000-plus-page Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan's draft environmental impact report.
With a Jan. 8 deadline to submit comments to the 22nd District Agricultural Association, the City Council has formed an ad hoc committee that will meet weekly throughout November.
"This is an aggressive time schedule to get everything in on the timeline," Mayor Crystal Crawford said.
To be more efficient, committee members have been assigned different portions to review with the aim being a consistent and comprehensive report for the City Council.
Every Wednesday until December, the committee will meet at 3 p.m. at the City Annex, except for one Tuesday meeting on Nov. 24. Its first official meeting was on Oct. 23, and the committee members plan to present their report to the City Council on Dec. 7, giving the council two official December board meetings to shape its response before the deadline.
There are 62 projects in the plans to improve the fairgrounds, including a new exhibit building, a 330-room condominium hotel, a new official gate and administration office, a two-sided electric sign along the highway and a 60,000-square-foot health club and sports training facility.
The plan also calls for demolishing existing structures to allow for new development and relocating the fire station off site.
Brian Mooney, city planning director, said his initial views on the EIR were not favorable. He said the city raised numerous issues with the fairgrounds board when it released its notice of preparation for the EIR and those concerns were not addressed.
"The EIR appears to be inadequate in its project-level impact analysis," Mooney said. "The alternatives don't represent a reasonable range."
In the report, some proposals for correcting project impacts are identified as being performed by "other agencies."
Without a party named as responsible to complete the work efforts, it overrides the proposed mitigation, Mooney said.
Mooney said the EIR fails to address the possibility of a direct access ramp from Interstate 5 and also fails to address the intensity of development next to the lagoon, particularly the hotel and replacement facilities.
Councilman Donald Mosier said that information about the fairgrounds' 62 proposed projects is insufficient.
"There's so little information about each individual project, very little descriptions and very rough renderings," Mosier said.
Without those descriptions, it's hard to see the cumulative impact, he said.
Individuals can review and make comments on the fairgrounds' EIR at sdfair.com. The executive summary is 122 pages long.