April 2011 home page

  Golf Off Course 
Dawn Rawls | Klish Way and Jacqueline Winterer | Ocean View

Bingo Banner.  Photo Freda Reid


The California Coastal Commission (CCC) recently notified the public of a hearing for additional golf and swimming facilities at the Fairgrounds near the miniature golf course. The time between notification and the hearing was so short that many local agencies, including the City of Del Mar, sought postponement.

Interestingly the CCC staff report for the hearing discusses the 22nd District’s ongoing lack of compliance with earlier coastal permits and includes violations we were unaware of: construction of the swimming pool and associated tent without a permit and the continued use of volley ball court whose permit expired in September 2008.

Further, the 22d DAA application includes a detailed discussion of proposed minor signage without mentioning their large banner along the freeway advertising the Bingo operation, or the fact that the 22nd DAA is planning a 60,000 square foot Health Club and Sports Training Facility at the same (miniature golf course) location.
The new permit violations and dissimulation simply add to the Fair Board’s long-standing record of poor accountability to the public for their actions.

Misuse of dirt lots: The CCC repeatedly reminds the Fairgrounds that the only permitted uses of the dirt lots on the San Dieguito River are for parking during the races and the Fair. A list of continuing violations to this restriction includes parking for: pumpkin and Christmas tree stands; large events such as the gun show; music festivals and hot rod shows; staging events such as circuses, and trailers, dirt, and other materials.

Unpermitted signage: The Holiday of Lights sign that appears in November and December, signs on the side of illegal trailers, the current Bingo sign and even the whale mural on the large “barn” that promulgates a “conservation” ethic for the DAA.

Water quality: For some time, the Regional Water Quality Control Board has found the runoff water at the Fairgrounds exceeds safe standards for several contaminants. The Fairgrounds has resisted the investment needed to clean up these violations. The Coastal Commission has begun to insist that the Fairgrounds modify proposed projects to incorporate more “clean runoff” features but they have repeatedly failed to take the initiative. While Del Mar residents pay a clean water fee to monitor and clean up water flowing to drains that empty into the river and ocean, the Fairgrounds has refused to pay their fair share for these same City services. Who pays the Fairgrounds share? One way or another the Fairgrounds share is paid by Del Mar citizens.

This pattern of permit violations and dissimulation is one of the many reasons we should demand new governance of the Fairgrounds.

Updates: On March 2, the San Dieguito River Park voiced their concern about the proposed permit application “when violations continue and (are) not adequately monitored.”

On March 3, after receiving the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley complaint regarding non-permitted signage and photos of the Bingo banner, the CCC issued an addendum to their Staff report that now includes signage restriction for “large banners strung between poles or buildings and … signs attached to sides of portable trailers...”

On March 7, the Fairgrounds requested a postponement of their application from March to May 2011.


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