Planning board seeks end to hotel's fireworks

The Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Board has requested that the Grand Del Mar stop setting off fireworks displays in their environmentally sensitive neighborhood. Grand Del Mar President Tom Voss said he would consider it, and Charles Stewart, director of catering, ensured there are so far no fireworks scheduled for the next two years.

"We are not in the business of fireworks," Voss said. "We are also not pushing or selling fireworks."

Chairman Gary Levitt said that when the resort was approved in the late '90s, the community was promised the resort would walk softly within the environmentally sensitive area and respect the community plan's dark sky ordinance.

Board member Marvin Gerst reminded Voss that while they are not selling the fireworks, they are selling the surrounding habitat. Gerst said the resort advertises the beauty of the surrounding Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and how guests can take hikes and commune with nature.

"Nonetheless, you are doing what we specifically wanted to avoid," Gerst said. "It's inconsistent to say the least."

The Grand Del Mar has had four fireworks displays since 2007, one to celebrate the resort's opening, one to celebrate their Addison restaurant and two were private, near-million-dollar weddings.

"I have a problem with it," resident Jan Hudson said. "When you have fireworks, the horses go nuts, they run against the fence."

Hudson said when fireworks shows are scheduled she is forced to stay home to make sure the horses don't run through the fence. She said if that is the way her animals react, she could only imagine what the animals living within the habitat experience.

"I don't think it should be our responsibility to absorb the impacts so you guys can make some money," Hudson said.

Voss said they have done all they can to make sure the displays are safe - they are always properly permitted and noticed to the homeowners' association, the fire department is on standby and they only last three to four minutes.

Voss compared the infrequent firework noise to that of the military jets that frequently fly overhead.

"There are more jets than fireworks," Voss said. "The noise of our fireworks is less than one percent."

   
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