Dec/Jan 2010 home page

  Walk the Line
Jacqueline Winterer | President of Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley


State of California proposed settlement agreement with 22nd District Agriculture Association property including historic tide and submerged land in and adjacent to San Dieguito
Wetland Restoration Project


For several years, the California State Lands Commission (SLC) has asserted a claim of Sovereign Public Trust interest in certain portions of the real property to which the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22d DAA) holds record title. These are lands to which California received title upon its admission to the Union in 1850 and which are held in trust for the people of the State of California.

Recently, the SLC reached an agreement in principle with the 22d DAA that would resolve the claims of Sovereign Public Trust interest asserted by the SLC. The agreement would provide, in part, for the transfer to the State Lands of 37.24 acres of property that the 22nd DAA claims. The properties are located (1) at the San Dieguito River mouth, (2) between Camino Del Mar and the train tracks; and (3 and 4) two small pieces of land immediately west and east of Jimmy Durante Blvd along the north bank of the river. In exchange the 22d DAA retains some undisputed wetlands located in the middle of the property fairgrounds property.

Subsequently, at its Oct 18 meeting the Del Mar City Council agreed to request that the SLC continue the settlement agreement to a time after the 22nd DAA has adopted its Master Plan Environmental Impact Report. This request was made because the City of Del Mar has documents not examined by the SLC, in support of asserting broader Public Trust claims than those spelled out in the agreement. In particular a 1854 County Assessors map shows that 538 acres of swamp land at the San Dieguito River mouth were salt marshes. There is also a 1903 US Geological map unambiguously showing that “submerged marshes” in the San Dieguito Valley extended half way to El Camino Real. These maps were not examined by the SLC staff.

The City’s letter was received by the SLC at its Oct 29 meeting in Culver City requesting a delay in the approval of the settlement to examine these issues. None of the State Lands Commissioners were present at the meeting, but were instead represented by one of their staff members. After hearing very brief presentations from SLC Counsel Kathryn Colson, Jacqueline Winterer, presenting the City of Del Mar letter and Becky Bartling, 22d DAA deputy General Manager, SLC voted adoption of the settlement without discussion.

The agreement further states that by January 1, 2021 the 22d DAA must remove any remaining recycling facility west of Durante Blvd and cease to use the area for parking. After January 1, 2021 the SLC reserves the right to construct or facilitate the construction of a public access trail.

Another condition of the settlement is that none of the parties in the agreement is exempt from the regulatory, environmental, land use jurisdiction of any federal, state, local entities.

And thus a major piece of State Land was lost.


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