Dec/Jan 2009-2010 home page


Massive Master Plan
John Graybill | 15th Street

An image from Google Earth with the footprint of the hotel/convention hall complex shown to scale. It can be seen that the footprint is wider than the San Dieguito River.


If fairground officials are successful in implementing the proposed master plan, our present way of life in Del Mar will never be the same. What is being presented as a redevelopment and update of facilities is really a massive development that will function like a large convention center. The chart on page 5 itemizes the huge buildings, parking structure, and hotel that will intensify the use of the fairgrounds and bring crowds, traffic, noise, and bright light to our neighborhood and to a fragile lagoon ecosystem. Crowds and traffic will be here year-round instead of just during the summer. Traffic is projected to more than double on Camino Del Mar. More congestion on I-5 will bring more cut-thru traffic into residential areas of Del Mar.

A standing-room only crowd attended the November 10 meeting of the 22nd Ag District monthly board meeting. Master Plan Chair Barry Nussbaum told the audience to put their comments in writing by January 8, 2010, otherwise there would be no response to verbal comments made in the meeting.

Approximately 15 speakers voiced their three minute opinions, all in opposition. In summary they said the massive size of the project and the uses described in the master plan will spoil the area and reduce quality of life due to excess noise, congestive traffic, bright light, damage to lagoon and wetlands, air pollution, loss of birds, loss of open space, and the needless addition of a convention center/hotel in North County.

Nussbaum responded after public comment saying that much work had gone into it over the last decade. He claimed the project will have no impact on the tidelands or the San Dieguito River despite the exhibit buildings and hotel’s close proximity to the river. He said they have worked with the Attorney General’s office to clear the path for approvals. He went into detail about their environmental efforts of recycling, solar power, and polytracking to try to characterize the Ag District as good environmental stewards, despite the damage the master plan will do to the $90 million restoration of the lagoon. He claimed he was an environmentalist as were all of the board members. He said they want to be good neighbors in the community despite the fact that not one substantive change was made to their proposed developments after all the objections the nearby communities raised to their April 2008 Notice of Preparation (NOP) of the master plan. He discussed their financial difficulties and doubts that they will be able to break even in 2010. No financing is in place for the master plan. Should the 22nd Ag District be allowed to put the State of California into more debt to finance a convention center that the nearby communities do not want?



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