BY CRYSTAL CRAWFORD
Mayor of Del Mar
The long-awaited master plan and environmental impact report (EIR) for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, officially known as the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA), was released on Oct. 9.
The Master Plan outlines a variety of projects proposed for construction on the 340-acre site during the next 25 years. The projects range from renovation of existing buildings to construction of new facilities, including a 330-room hotel, exhibit halls, a health club and sports training center, and new entry gates and signage. The plan calls for the existing fire station to be relocated to another property along Jimmy Durante Boulevard.
Near and long-term projects are proposed; the hotel, sports training facility and relocated fire station are identified as near term. Some projects could have significant impacts on Del Mar and surrounding communities including traffic, degradation of sensitive resources, visual changes, air quality, and increased infrastructure demands.
The EIR is intended to gauge those impacts and determine if alternatives or mitigation measures could lessen the impacts. The 90-day review period for the 4,000-page master plan and EIR ends on Jan. 8, and all comments must be submitted by that date. The comments will be reviewed by the full council before being submitted on Jan. 8, 2010.
The City Council has directed city staff to conduct a comprehensive review for adequacy and completeness and to renew meetings of the Fairgrounds Master Plan Ad Hoc Advisory Committee. That committee was formed when the 22nd agricultural association began the Master Plan Update process in 2000, and many of the original members have returned to assist the city in its review.
There are a number of other jurisdictions and agencies having an interest in the Fairgrounds site. The city intends to collaborate with those other stakeholders to maximize efficiencies and share resources.
The specifics regarding the review of the master plan and environmental documents will be discussed at the advisory committee meetings. Notice of those meetings will be posted on the city's Web site and at City Hall, and the public is invited to attend. The next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 in the City Hall Annex.
Copies of the two-volume master plan are available for review at the Del Mar Library and at City Hall. The documents can also be reviewed online at www.sdfair.com. (Go to "About Us", then "Press Releases." The Oct. 9, 2009, press release announcing the "Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Report - Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan Project" takes readers to the index of documents and attachments.)