The Prop B mailers have started in earnest and many statements being made by the proponents are misleading at best. This motivated me to write and set a few things straight. When discussing the timeline of events Prop B supporters fail to mention that the Fletcher Cove Community Center (FCCC) was not available for private party rentals for a very long time, and that the current City Council is the first Council in over 15 years to restore this use. The adopted “Compromise Policy” is a good starting point which balances the needs of the local businesses, neighborhood, and beach users with the desires of those wishing to rent the facility.
The proponents also state that if Prop B passes the City can adjust the rules and regulate the use of the facility through existing ordinances. However, State law clearly stipulates that measures passed by Initiative Petition cannot be modified except through a public vote. Since the language in Prop B dictates the days and hours of operation, how capacity is determined, how noise is to be regulated, sets a low rental fee, and restricts the City from implementing alcohol regulations, virtually any needed change will require another costly election.
The FCCC is in a beautiful location and should be available for private parties when possible. However, it’s imperative that any policy be tailored to the unique environment of this facility; it’s a small meeting room, provides only two parking spaces, has no kitchen, and there are only two toilets. It’s also in a residential neighborhood and adjacent to a children’s playground. The existing policy acknowledges the situation at the FCCC and may be adjusted as needed. Prop B will put a problematic, intensive use policy in place, and even the smallest change to their policy will require another expensive vote.
Their flyer further claims that the Council ignored the results of a report it commissioned on the initiative. This is not true. When making decisions the Council relies on the entire body of evidence before it, not just a single report. In this case, the report referenced was authored by an attorney and focused on a narrow range of topics outlined by State law. While this report didn’t present any new impacts, the official environmental analysis prepared by land use experts identified several potential issues. A second analysis performed by a licensed traffic engineer further noted significant parking challenges. This, combined with the extensive public testimony and well known prior problems at this facility, clearly suggested that the correct decision was to continue with the existing policy which may be readily adjusted to meet the needs of the community.
The proponents further imply that the residents “near” the FCCC currently receive special benefits and Prop B will fix this. Actually the opposite is closer to the truth. The FCCC today is a heavily used facility, averaging over 130 hours of events per month and enjoyed by many residents. The existing private party policy is fair and balanced to all residents within Solana Beach. In contrast, all funds supporting Prop B have been contributed by a single individual who to date has spent over $55,000 to influence the Council and sway the public. While it may not be clear why this “special interest” is spending so much money on this one issue, it is clear that allowing one person to buy a law in Solana Beach is bad precedent. It is clear that the potential for beach access issues, parking impacts, and noise problems make Prop B bad for Solana Beach. Please join me in voting No on Prop B!
Solana Beach City Councilman