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Commentary:
Preserve Public Preserve
- Jan McMillan | 12th Street

The bluffs above North Beach. Drawing from a flyer for the 1976 Keep Greenery in the Scenery campaign. Read more online in the December 2013 Sandpiper archives
in an article by Freda Reid entitled Greenery in the Scenery.

www.bit.ly/ScrippsBluff
Click to enlarge.

Attn. Matt Bator, AICP, Senior Planner

Dear Matt:

My comments address only one part of the Del Mar Resort Notice of Preparation, namely the suggestion that the Del Mar Bluff Preserve may become part of this specific plan, either now or sometime in the future. (Please see page 2.) Del Mar must not allow this to happen. The Specific Plan must be evaluated as a stand-alone project, without including public preserve land in the design.
Why? Because when James Scripps donated bluff land to the City of Del Mar, he intended it to be left in its natural state as a reminder of what ancient bluffs were like before urbanization began. The City subsequently designated the land as the James Scripps Bluff Preserve, to be used for quiet walks and observation of the ocean and river valley below. The preserve was not to be used as a park, which encourages activities such as picnics and sports, suitable uses elsewhere but ones that damage terrain and would diminish the view of a beautiful sandstone bluff rising above the ocean.

When the owner of a parcel next to the preserve wanted to build a house on this private land, The City Council entered into an agreement with the owner that limited the height of any structures on the property and required that these structures be shielded by vegetation so as to make them “disappear.” The landowners also paid a yearly fee to the City to be deposited into an open space fund. There is a record of this agreement in City files.

Recent articles remind us of what the Del Mar Bluff Preserve was intended to be and how Del Mar tries to preserve what is irreplaceable in nature, so I find it puzzling that the draft NOP raises the possibility that the City “may” approve park-like elements and additional access trails on preserve land. I don’t know where this suggestion came from, but please leave a potential change to the Bluff Preserve out of your analysis.

Respectfully submitted,
Jan McMillan, 12th Street

 

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