Solana Beach wants part ownership of fairgrounds


Marlena Chavira-Medford

Staff Writer

Del Mar is attempting to buy the fairgrounds for $120 million, and Solana Beach wants in on the deal. Solana Beach City Council made the announcement during a Dec. 2 special meeting.

Solana Beach drafted a proposal for joint-ownership and control of the fairgrounds, which it gave to Del Mar last week, though as of Dec. 2 there had been no response. The proposal was expected to go public as early as Monday, Dec. 6.

“When it comes to the fairgrounds we’re equally impacted as the city of Del Mar,” Solana Beach Mayor Tom Campbell said of the reasoning behind why he felt Solana Beach deserves joint-ownership and control.

He went on to say that Solana Beach is affected by the traffic, crime, noise and light pollution from the events held on the fairgrounds. Solana Beach also has to send more first responders to the fairgrounds during events and, at times, the crowds can drive down local business as people will avoid the area, he said.

Talks about Del Mar’s intent to buy the fairgrounds have been going on for weeks between a sub-committee that includes Solana Beach mayor Tom Campbell, Solana Beach councilman David Roberts, Del Mar mayor Richard Earnest, and Del Mar councilman Carl Hilliard. Those talks came about after Del Mar asked Solana Beach to publically support its purchase of the fairgrounds. After several discussions, Campbell said there “were still too many unanswered questions” and Solana Beach could therefore not endorse the deal at this time.

Del Mar had originally proposed that the fairgrounds be governed by a nonprofit 11-member board, with Del Mar having five seats and Solana Beach having one seat. Last week, however, Del Mar released a resolution that proposes a board with more regional control, which means Del Mar would no longer have a majority of the seats.

A bill authorizing the sale of the fairgrounds was introduced to state senate more than a month ago, though that bill expired in late November. A new bill will be introduced Monday, Dec. 6.