Mayor discusses 2019 in Solana Beach

Solana Beach will see improvements to basic city services, city infrastructure, traffic and parks in the new year, Mayor David Zito said in a recent interview.

Zito, who was selected to serve as mayor in December after being appointed to the position earlier in the year, considered 2018 a "fairly busy year."

Mayor David Zito
Mayor David Zito Courtesy

"There were a lot of things that happened that were just really fun and good, such as being able to kick off the construction of the skatepark, which was a really significant event,” he said.

The city also released a mobile app and implemented its Community Choice Energy program. It also took up resolutions in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and against gun shows at the nearby Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The council also approved the Solana 101 mixed-use project and the Solana Highlands redevelopment project, which each had a significant amount of discussion and community involvement.

In June, the city opted to move to district elections with four districts and an at-large mayor.

The city embarked on its transition to district elections in April, after receiving a letter from a Malibu attorney, who threatened a lawsuit under the California Voting Rights Act. Currently, all five council members are elected on an at-large basis by the entire city electorate.

The letter by attorney Kevin Shenkman alleged that the city's at-large system of electing council members discourages Latino candidates and dilutes Latino votes.

The first district election will take place in 2020.

Looking ahead to 2019, Zito said Solana Beach has a number of tasks that are outlined in the city's work plan, which can be viewed on the city’s website.

The city looks to improve its infrastructure, including the pump station, and replace or improve the existing marine safety center.

"That's one bit of infrastructure that's in pretty dire need of updating," Zito said.

The city will also roll out more of its Climate Action Plan, including expanding LED retrofitting of lights and looking at better management of plastic use in the city. It also hopes to finish a local implementation plan for its local coastal plan and submit that document to the California Coastal Commission.

Zito said a number of improvements will also be made at city parks, including La Colonia and Fletcher Cove. The city is also considering installing a pocket park toward the end of Santa Helena.

Solana Beach will also explore uses for a recently acquired property on Stevens Avenue, adjacent to La Colonia Park.

"We acquired the property but we didn't have any concrete plans for it," he explained. "We'll have to get community input on what should be done with that property and start creating plans."

Traffic will also be addressed in 2019, the mayor said, adding that the city will look at improving flows and addressing speeds. Additionally, Zito expects the city to complete the design of the Lomas Santa Fe Corridor this year.

Solana Beach will also begin work on its next housing element plan update, which is due in 2020 and spells out how a city proposes to rework its zoning to accommodate future housing, particularly for those of low and very-low incomes.

Additionally, Zito said the city will continue opposing the proposed Del Mar Resort project — which Solana Beach residents have contested would block their views and add traffic, among other worries — and figure out a plan for the train station site, which is owned by the North County Transit District.

The challenge with that project is funding for 500 underground parking spaces, Zito noted.

"We want to make sure that property is developed in a responsible way and with uses that help complement the area," he said.

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