City of Del Mar contends fairgrounds has violated 2013 settlement agreement

The city of Del Mar claims that the Del Mar Fairgrounds has violated a 2013 settlement agreement and plans to enforce its rights.

City Attorney Leslie Devaney reported that the Del Mar City Council voted unanimously in closed session on Dec. 7 to “start the process to enforce Del Mar’s rights under the settlement agreement because of fairground noise violations.”

The city received noise complaints from residents during the first-ever Kaaboo music festival in September, but city officials did not confirm whether or not complaints regarding the three-day festival led to the council’s vote. Kabboo has already announced a partial list of performers slated to take the stage during the second annual festival next September at the fairgrounds.

“There’s different things that were agreed upon when that settlement agreement was agreed to, and if there are any aspects of it that aren’t being followed, there’s a protocol that we can go through to try to have that addressed,” said Kristen Crane, assistant to the city manager.

Crane, however, did not specify how the city plans to “enforce its rights.”

Del Mar, Solana Beach, the San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers Authority filed a lawsuit in 2011 regarding the 22nd District Agricultural Association’s expansion plans for the fairgrounds.

The three entities challenged an environmental impact report conducted in support of the master plan and certified by the 22nd DAA board, which governs the state-run facility. The parties reached a settlement agreement, dated February 2013, that outlines a variety of matters.

Under noise reduction, the district agreed to install off-site noise monitoring equipment in three locations and to monitor noise during outdoor events at the fairgrounds. According to the settlement agreement, the equipment must be maintained and calibrated to industry standards. The district must also provide a copy of the monitoring results to Del Mar, Solana Beach and the San Dieguito River Valley JPA within 96 hours of any non-fair concert event.

At the time of the settlement agreement, the district had already adopted a noise ordinance. But with the agreement, the district agreed to also prepare a noise ordinance enforcement plan.

Additionally, the district agreed to establish a phone number for reporting noise disturbances from activities at the fairgrounds. District event managers monitor phone calls to this number, according to the agreement. The fairgrounds agreed to promote the number on its website.

According to the agreement, if the district receives a sound complaint, the event manager “will review the monitoring results to determine if the sound exceeds the noise ordinance’s levels and make adjustments if needed.” If possible, the event manager will make the adjustments while the event is in progress. The district is also required to share the monitoring results documenting levels above the ordinance limits to either the city manager of Del Mar or Solana Beach for discussion with district staff.