Del Mar Fairgrounds to install fence

In an effort to keep the property safe and secure, the Del Mar Fairgrounds is installing a fence along Via de la Valle.

The Del Mar City Council approved an encroachment permit for the project on May 16. After press time on May 25, the Del Mar Design Review Board is set to review a request for a design review permit for the installation of approximately 2,580 linear feet of green vinyl-coated chain-link fencing with privacy slats, as well as native or drought-tolerant landscape screening on the south side of Via de la Valle between Jimmy Durante Boulevard and west of the Solana Beach gate.

The fence is needed, according to the fairgrounds, because the city of Del Mar had to remove a dense hedge that was located within the public right-of-way at the top of a slope along the northeast portion of the fairgrounds property in order to install a sidewalk along the south side of Via de la Valle. The new sidewalk was part of the city’s sewer, water and arterial paving capital project.

In doing so, the city removed about 800 feet “mature landscape material” across from The Fish Market restaurant, Gary Reist, deputy general manager for the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack, explained during the May 24 board meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association. The 22nd DAA runs the state-owned fairgrounds.

Along with an old chain-link fence topped with barbed wire at the base of the slope, the hedge provided an additional security measure for the horse stable area.

“It literally exposed our backside,” Reist said. “We got a few cards, letters and phone calls. So in trying to keep and maintain our property safe, secure and beautiful, we embarked on a fence project and landscape project.”

The fairgrounds originally proposed to install an 8-foot tall fence that would extend 2,030

linear feet west from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the Solana Beach gate, with a 6-foot tall

fence extending an additional 550 linear feet west of the gate. The fencing material would utilize dark green vinyl-coated chain-link with dark green privacy slats to provide a 95 percent privacy screen, according to the staff report. The proposed fencing would be topped with vertical barb arms and three strands of black vinyl-coated barbed wire.

The council approved the request but required that it not exceed 6 feet in height above sidewalk elevation, not utilize any barbed wire in its design and be continuously screened by native or drought-tolerant vegetation.

“We’ve created a new condition by putting a sidewalk on the south side of Via de la Valle, and so there is a public safety concern as well as the protection of the view of the horses, the property and the backside of the barns,” said Councilman Don Mosier at the May 16 council meeting. “It’s not the most beautiful fence, but I understand that it’s necessary to screen that property, and it does have a pubic safety benefit.”