One year after vote to expand public use, Fletcher Cove center grows more popular
The cliff-top center that once divided the Solana Beach community has since become an increasingly popular place for private events.
This month marks one year since Solana Beach voters narrowly approved a measure that eased restrictions on private parties at Fletcher Cove Community Center. Proposition B was adopted by nearly 51 percent of voters, with 1,947 “Yes” votes and 1,875 “No” votes during a special election Feb. 11, 2014.
Under the new rules, the city began accepting reservations in mid-March of last year. Since then, the center has been used for 20 private events, including birthday parties, wedding receptions, memorials and company functions, according to interim City Manager David Ott. Half of the events included alcohol.
Now, less than two months into 2015, 13 rentals have already been held or approved, nine of which will include alcohol.
“It’s definitely becoming more popular,” Ott said. “You can see the word’s getting out.”
Proposition B was brought to the ballot box by citizens after the issue of public use of the center divided the community for more than two years. Supporters wanted to lift restrictions, while opponents feared adverse impacts from private functions.
After months of debate and negotiations, the City Council in August 2013 adopted a use policy for the center that permitted no more than one private party every other weekend. It limited parties to 50 people, restricted live music and limited alcoholic beverages to two per person.
From the time the ordinance was approved to when Prop B was adopted, only four permitted events had been held at the facility. Ott pointed out that the council-approved policy was in place during the fall season, while the summer months have since been the most requested months for rentals, particularly June and August.
Prop B asked voters to repeal the city’s restrictions, which they did, by a slim margin of 72 votes.
Under the use policy, the center is available for up to two events per weekend, Friday through Sunday. Up to 100 people are allowed at events, or only 50 people if tables are used.
Live music is permitted, and beer, champagne and wine can be served. Events must, however, comply with the city’s Noise Ordinance and adhere to California’s Alcohol Beverage Control rules.
The facility costs $50 per hour for residents and $150 per hour for non-residents. A two-hour minimum is required.
Scheduled events are posted in the glass display box at the front of the center, which is at 133 Pacific Ave. A list of cellphone numbers for staff members is also provided, so residents can easily contact the city regarding any problems, Ott said.
So far, there have been relatively few, Ott said. “We’ve had nothing major,” he said.
Some of the events have featured food trucks, which at first resulted in noise complaints regarding the generators used by the vehicles. Since then, the city has placed conditions on the use of food trucks, so that when generators are used, they are pointed toward the community center instead of toward the neighborhood.
The city also fired the private security company it contracted with after a security guard failed to show up at an event. The city has since contracted with another company, Ott said.
“Other than that, we haven’t really had any problems,” he said. “It’s worked out pretty well.”