Ann Gardner | Via Latina
Del Mar Councilman Don Mosier, representing the San Dieguito River Park’s Joint Powers Authority (JPA), joined others at a recent press conference to protest the development of an oversized project on Via de la Valle north of the polo fields. Appearing before the San Diego City Council, the group’s presentation prompted a supportive comment from First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner: “We are still working on (getting a legal opinion) and will be partnering with you going forward.”
At stake is the development of an over 600,000 square foot continuing care community with a 55 foot tall administration tower on 20 acres in the San Dieguito River floodplain, currently designated as open space and zoned for agricultural use. The three story building would block existing views from Via de la Valle across the polo fields to the River and adjacent hillsides. A member of the Carmel Valley Planning Board, which provides advisory input on development in the area, commented: “It will draw a curtain over the River Valley.”
Earlier this year the San Diego Planning Commission opined that the project qualifies for a Conditional Use Permit, ignoring San Diego’s 1985 Managed Growth Initiative, Proposition A, which limits urban sprawl in specific non-urban areas and requires voter approval for any change in zoning. The proposed development, Rancho Del Mar, is on “Prop A Lands” and early supporters of Prop. A have “come out of retirement” to legally challenge the Planning Commission’s decision. The Coalition, Protect San Dieguito River Valley, includes the River Park, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, San Diegans for Managed Growth and Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley and is co-chaired by Cory Ha’o and Jeff Barnouw of Del Mar. They claim the Commission made an uninformed, invalid decision and have asked City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to respond. The City Attorney’s response is pending.
Mosier who represents Del Mar on the San Dieguito River Park’s Board of Directors says: “I was pleased to present the unanimous view of the River Park JPA that this project violates Prop. A and impacts the sensitive river habitat and a public view corridor in the San Dieguito River Valley.”