DM Mesa board seeks greater say in trail plan

Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Board members want more say in developing the Del Mar Mesa Preserve resource management plan.

The group recently wrote to city officials, saying that they want to be the lead advisory group for the plan, which will in part determine the fate of a popular system of trails in the sensitive preserve.

“We’re the advisory board of record but the city has not been treating us that way,” said board member Jan Hudson.

The letter asked that the planning board be the host group for public forums and debates and requested that it receive updates from city staff on the plan, which could now be delayed until May.

The move was not meant to be a “power play,” said Chairman Gary Levitt, adding that the board just wants the opportunity to be involved in the discussion.

Right now, the preserve is closed off to all users and has been since a December tree-cutting incident. But being shut off hasn’t helped the area get any more pristine, said Mike Maio of the Los Penasquitos Citizen’s Advisory Committee and the San Diego Bike Association, adding that, instead, it is being “ruined and wrecked” further.

He said trash has been dumped on the trails and four-wheel drive activity is now tearing them up. Without responsible users out there, the law-breaking element will continue to be active, he said.

As a group, the mountain bike association has a cleanup tentatively scheduled on April 11.

Levitt said that the board members are all trail users and arguments set aside, their interests are aligned with those of the mountain bike association.

“We are on the same side,” Levitt said. “There is no attempt on this group’s part to shut it down.”

Levitt said it’s all about finding a balance - a plan where there are not as many trails out there as there are now but not as few as some people want.