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Pushing Poison Pill
Jacqueline Winterer | Ocean View


 
The East Lot Parking structure (2) , Health Club (10) and South Lot.  Restoration Phases I and II.

 

At its September 13 meeting, the 22nd DAA Board of Directors adopted a plan for the Restoration, Maintenance and Monitoring of the Salt Marsh south of Jimmy Durante Boulevard across from the Del Mar fire station. This plan is in response to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1991 Order of Corrective Measures issued to the 22nd DAA for violations of the Clean Water Act. Phase I of this plan is to create 3.07 acres of wetlands in the western part of the marsh (the so-called South Overflow Lot, SOL) and to establish self-sustaining native wetland habitat resilient to a natural range of disturbances.

This Restoration Plan is designed to be compatible with the conceptual design for the entire marsh (SOL Phase II) requested by the California Coastal Commission. The 22nd DAA proposes a condition to the initiation of the Phase II restoration: that the 22nd DAA completes construction of a proposed 4 stories-high parking structure on the northern edge of the dirt parking lot east of Jimmy Durante (the EOL), south of the Hilton Hotel.

That proposed condition is a remarkable statement. Why should the 22nd DAA be compensated for the loss of use of the SOL after 20 years of using and abusing the SOL wetlands and resisting correcting measures?

This quid pro quo, if accepted, is a poison pill that, in fact, ensures the 22d DAA permanent use of the eastern SOL, for this reason: the new parking structure is planned as a 4-story building that will occupy 40 percent of the EOL and is designed to serve the patrons of a 60,000 sq. ft Health Club/Sports Training Facility to be built between the parking building and I-5. Those two huge structures are some of the remaining controversial features of the 22nd DAA Master Plan and are unlikely to receive approval from the Coastal Commission. They would also be in the way of a Direct Access Ramp to the fairgrounds that is under discussion.

By putting an impossible condition to the implementation of Phase II of the Restoration Plan, the 22nd DAA is certain to continue the marsh-destroying use the eastern SOL for the foreseeable future.

Jacqueline Winterer is the President of the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley.

 
 

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