Fair board doubles plan review time; Draft EIR for fairgrounds Master Plan released


The public will have twice as much time to review a plan that calls for dramatic changes at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors on Tuesday opted to allow 90 days for public review and comment, giving people until Jan. 8 to submit their opinions on the draft Environmental Impact Report for the Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan.

The plan includes near-term projects such as a new exhibit building, a 330-room condominium hotel, a new official gate and administration office, a two-sided electric sign board along Interstate 5 and a 60,000-square-foot health club and sports training facility.

It also calls for demolishing existing structures to allow for new development and re-locating the fire station off-site.

Long-term projects include a seasonal train platform, multi-level parking structure, a new Horseman’s Village with a 25,000-square-foot cafe and viewing platform, and a new track tunnel under the racetrack.

Director Barry Nussbaum said the release of the plan, 10 years in the making, is almost anti-climactic.

It was a report that was done backward in a sense, he said, noting that the public has been involved from day one.

It was always their intent to have the plan out in the open, he said, adding that they plan to continue that openness with the longer public comment period so no one can say their voice wasn’t heard.

“We encourage everyone’s input, be it good, bad or indifferent,” Nussbaum said.

The report studies a wide range of projected impacts of the planl, such as air quality, traffic and circulation, noise, water quality, biological resources and greenhouse gases. It also proposes mitigation measures to offset or reduce potential environmental impacts.

The EIR is available in full at the fairground’s website, www.sdfair.com. Copies will also be available at the Del Mar and Solana Beach Libraries.

2010 fair theme selected

Planning for the 2010 San Diego County Fair is already in full swing and the board of directors voted on the theme this Tuesday. This year the fair will carry a food theme and has a working title of “Taste of Summer.”

They hope to bring in popular master chefs, have daily cooking contests to involve the public and exhibit some of the region’s best offerings. The fair will run June 11-July 5.