Guest commentary: What are those red balloons floating over Solana Beach?

Red balloons are being used as story poles for a proposed set of stadium lights at Santa Fe Christian Schools.
Red balloons are being used as story poles for a proposed set of stadium lights at Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach.
(Luke Harold)

You are not alone in wondering what those red balloons are that we see from many vantage points in our City. Santa Fe Christian School (SFCS) has requested a modification to their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to put up sports field lights. Given there is really no good way to present these very tall light poles and lighting assemblies with story poles, absent their actual installation, Council approved a second best alternative method using balloons.

Council was also concerned with how best to notify the public about this proposal. We expanded the mailed notifications from the usual 300-foot radius to 1,000-foot radius. Now it is obvious that these balloons can be seen from way further away and without having received the mailed notice, most people would have no idea what they were and would reasonably think they might be part of a school ceremony. In response to this, the City sent out a Community Advisory email so all residents would understand what’s going on. This column is a further effort to inform our residents.

For more information and photos that depict SFCS’s proposed lights, please visit the City’s website ( While there, please sign up for E-Newsletter notifications to be kept informed of meeting dates and much more. Links for both are at the bottom of the website’s home page.

Do you have an opinion about this project? How can your opinion be heard? Some residents have emailed the City worried the lights would impair their view. To file for View Assessment, please note we extended the deadline for View Assessment to June 30. The meeting date for the View Assessment Commission, which meets the third Tuesday of each month, will likely be held in the early fall.

Besides possible view impairment, some residents have expressed concerns about light pollution and increased noise from the expanded nighttime hours for sports activities. These and any other issues, as well as support for the project, can be expressed not during the View Assessment process, but at the City Council Public Hearing for the requested modification to their CUP. This meeting will likely be held in October/November.

Finally, residents have asked why SFCS is allowed to ask for sports field lights as their current CUP prohibits them. They are within their rights to ask, and the Council is eager to hear from our residents their opinion on the request as we consider SFCS’s proposal. Please attend the meetings and/or email us at;;;;; and

Lesa Heebner, Mayor

City of Solana Beach

& 2nd Vice Chair, SANDAG Board of Directors