February 2012 home page

Good For The SOL
Jacqueline Winterer | Ocean View Avenue


SOL Restoration Area
Map above from page 27 of the Coastal Commission Staff Report

In March, the Coastal Commission adopted Cease and Desist Orders directing the 22nd DAA to remedy long-standing violations. Among these is the restoration of the South Overflow Lot (SOL), a disturbed historic wetland at the southern tip of the Fairgrounds property, to a fully tidal marsh. The SOL has been used by the District during the last 36 years, legally during the Fair and the racing seasons and illegally for the rest of the year. The lot was also subjected to unpermitted grading and stockpiling of soil.

The restoration will happen in two phases. Phase I is the restoration of 3.18 acres at the southwestern portion of the SOL and will take place this year. The restoration is designed to allow a full tidal range from the San Dieguito River to flow into the restored wetland. All channels will be excavated to a depth of -1 foot below sea level, offering opportunities for fish incursions. The bridge on the Coast to Crest Boardwalk at the southern edge of the restored area will offer the public a close view of the ebb and flow of tidal waters.

Phase II will include the restoration of an additional 9.55 acres on the eastern portion of the SOL. It is designed to create a unified and interconnected salt marsh and is scheduled to commence in 2015. Meanwhile the District will continue to use this area as a parking lot during the Fair and racing seasons only.
In the past, a maximum 1250 cars could be parked on the SOL. A parking assessment report funded by the District determined that the parking reduction due to the SOL restoration could be compensated by parking management strategies. These would include better design of the existing parking lots, management strategies of variable pricing, lots with guidance systems and access to off-site lots. A seasonal rail platform on the west side of the Fairgrounds property will also result in many fewer cars needing to park on the site.



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