Del Mar moves forward on fairgrounds future plan


By Claire Harlin

Del Mar is amid a complex process of creating a development vision for the fairgrounds, but city officials are having a hard time rallying the input of all local stakeholders, namely the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which operates the fairgrounds.

In February, the city sent letters to the City of Solana Beach, the Ag. Board, the City of San Diego, San Diego County, San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority and SANDAG inviting them to participate in the creation of a Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA), which would outline future goals and development parameters for the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Del Mar planning manager Adam Birnbaum said a follow-up letter was sent a few weeks ago.

“We invited the regional participants to join with us so that we would get input and perspective from all aspects before making a final decision,” said Mayor Carl Hilliard. “I, for one, wouldn’t be open to a discussion that would change our process. We’ve laid it out, we’ve invited people to participate and they can or they can’t depending on what they desire to do.”

Since the city’s current Master Plan includes little about the fairgrounds’ future, this document — which received the go-ahead by the Del Mar City Council in December — would serve as the development standard used by the California Coastal Commission if the state entity approves it.

Birnbaum said the process of meetings with stakeholder steering committees would most likely start this summer, and policy implementation would come later.

Deputy Mayor Terry Sinnott said he encourages city staff to continue the process and to have meetings with any and all interested parties.

“This process of doing a regional development will make a far better product and it will be something that will be much more representative,” said Sinnott. “At the same time it will reflect our community as well.”

Councilman Don Mosier said he thinks getting the full attention of the Ag. Board may be difficult right before fair season so, in the meantime, Del Mar should keep the ball rolling.

“We’ve got people waiting to get started,” said Mosier. “We need to at least establish some kind of agenda so people know when their commitments will be honored.”