Jim Benedict | Christie Lane
At the September 22nd Ag District board meeting, fair staff presented the idea of expanding the fair dates by 2-3 days in 2012 to help alleviate the traffic problems. These dates would be inside the current fair schedule and make what are currently dark days, become open fair days.
Mayor Mosier presented a letter from the city of Del Mar opposing these additional dates. The letter questioned the wisdom of adding these dates and whether traffic would really be reduced by doing so. The mayor also asked if an appropriate review under the California Environmental Quality Act would be needed to add these dates.
A bigger question was asked as to how many dates could this board add? Could they go to 30 days? Could they go year round? Scary thoughts and this board does have the authority with no local input to add as many days as they want. Horse racing and the school calendar do help to restrict fair dates.
The Fair Board with five new members sworn in did not vote on this issue as the previous Board probably would have. Instead they asked staff to meet with local city officials and further discuss options, including creative ideas for traffic flow, and get their input. There is an Ag District committee that has oversite on this issue and our city should be able to give our input to this process.
Some observers wonder if this is a signal from the new Board members that there will be a more collaborative approach with local jurisdictions.