Carol Kerridge | El Amigo Road
As we watch the cliffs all around our area eroding fast, the news of cliff failures has become no surprise. Perhaps the reason that we have not witnessed cliff failures below Del Mar’s North Bluff is that for now, there is very little development on the bluff which means very little drainage from sidewalks and roads or garden maintenance run-off.
One of the most precious and environmentally sensitive parcels of open space (which is now privately owned) in our region is in the midst of a controversial Citizens’ Initiative vote in the upcoming months. These parcels of land, on Del Mar’s North Bluff, are proposed by the Zephyr Group, to become a huge Resort Hotel Complex (Marisol), including 408 underground parking stalls, and numerous swimming pools.
This bluff lies in a natural extension of the San Dieguito River Valley, and gives one a stunning view overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon, which joins the San Dieguito River as they flow into the Pacific Ocean. As you look far to the east, this watershed spans five precious eco-systems originating at Volcan Mountain near Julian.
This entire area, still rich in both wildlife and plant sources, was once the homeland of the ancestral Kumeyaay people of this region, who consider this cliff area a sensitive cultural site.
In the 1970s, a group of local visionaries banded together along with supportive elected officials to preserve and restore this wetlands area by acquiring numerous parcels of private and publicly owned land resulting in the protection and enhancement of the entire San Dieguito Watershed. This area has become a rich source of open space for our entire region creating trails for hiking, riding, and biking, and we are greatly appreciative of their efforts.
This bluff top, directly above the point where the watershed runs into the ocean, would make a perfect, environmentally rich conclusion to the open space corridor that our visionaries had in mind, perhaps a park with a regional community center?
The Marisol Specific Plan needs much deliberation including a focus on the Environmental Impact Report, Coastal Commission input, story poles set-up, Design Review Board input and Planning Commission input, and our City Council input before a vote should occur.
When Did Del Mar Lose Its Progressive Environmental Values?