2013 in Solana Beach: A year in review

By Kristina Houck

Residents to vote on Fletcher Cove Community Center use policy

After more than two years of debate between Solana Beach residents who want to rent Fletcher Cove Community Center for private events and community members who fear adverse impacts from parties, the divisive issue is headed to the ballot.

The Solana Beach City Council on Nov. 6 had to decide whether to adopt a use policy they don’t support or spend about $200,000 on a special election. Council members unanimously voted to call a special election for Feb. 11, 2014, allowing voters to have their say on a use policy for the facility.

The council on Aug. 28 adopted a use policy for the facility, but members of the Friends of the Fletcher Cove Community Center wanted a less restrictive policy, so the group filed a voter initiative with the city on Aug. 27 to remove regulations from the site. The petition was certified on Sept. 25, after the San Diego County Registrar of Voters verified a sufficient number of signatures. It was presented to the council along with the council’s options at the Oct. 9 meeting.

City celebrates grand reopening of Highway 101

Solana Beach celebrated the reopening of Highway 101 during the city’s annual Arts Alive event on Sept. 22. The $7 million upgrade included wider sidewalks, public art and additional parking spaces.

City Council appoints Thomas Campbell as mayor

In a unanimous vote, council members on Dec. 9 appointed Thomas Campbell as the city’s mayor and Councilwoman Lesa Heebner as deputy mayor. Having served as deputy mayor throughout the last year, Campbell replaced Mike Nichols. This is his fifth term as mayor.

Solana Beach maintains plastic bag ban

Although some community members protested the plastic bag ban approved last year, the council on March 27 made no formal moves when the issue was brought back for discussion. Council members instead encouraged the city to better enforce and promote awareness of the ban.

Council to consider beach access for dogs

Leashed dogs are permitted at Fletcher Cove Park to the top of the beach access ramp, but the city currently prohibits dogs on its beaches. The council on July 10 authorized an environmental study to determine whether rules should change.

Leashed dogs are allowed at neighboring Cardiff State Beach. Del Mar also allows leashed dogs on much of its beaches year-round and allows unleashed dogs north of 29th Street from the day after Labor Day until June 15.

Solana Beach gains, then loses new fire chief

After two months on the job, Encinitas Fire Chief Jon Canavan resigned. In addition to the department’s six stations, the chief provides operational oversight for emergency services in the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. Canavan had previously served as the Poway Fire Department division chief. He returned to Poway as its fire marshal. Mike Deigle, the department’s deputy chief, is currently serving as interim chief.