Winston On Hold: Déjà Vu All Over Again

The saga of Winston’s efforts to submit its redevelopment plan, in a form that the City deems complete and compliant with the Winston lease, continues. The latest salvo is from Winston School in the form of an eblast sent to its constituency referencing a mailer it has sent to all registered voters in Del Mar, urging signatures on a new Winston petition. The petition asks the City to sign Winston’s redevelopment application, and to create “a fiscally viable lease” that reflects “the new reduced leasehold size.”


Winston’s petition includes its version of facts and history in support of its redevelopment application and its claim of entitlement to a lease amendment that reduces its rent. The City’s own documents, including numerous letters from the City Manager and City Attorney to Winston, paint a very different picture of this same history. If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, it’s because Winston’s claims seem to be on endless repeat, unchanged by any City action or response.


For example, Winston’s petition claims that in a Dec. 20, 2018 letter, the City “requested” the School to build additional parking spaces and reduce its square footage to receive a reduction in lease payments. The letter in fact did not request anything; it listed a number of options Winston could consider that could potentially justify a rent reduction. The current parking issues between Winston and the City relate to whether the Winston redevelopment plan meets city code requirements for parking – specifically, whether Winston’s redevelopment plan adequately addresses long-term parking within its leasehold, as required by the Code.


Winston also claims, “As a result, the School reduced its leasehold in 2020.” The lease includes a map that clearly shows Winston’s leasehold. There was an error in the legal description which was corrected in 2020 to correctly describe the leasehold as shown on the map that is part of the lease. The City asserts that Winston’s leasehold is unchanged from how it was depicted in the original lease.


According to Winston, “The School and its architect have addressed all City Staff and City Council clarifications and provided all information required by the planning department.” The City Council’s unanimous position (with Druker recused), as reflected in its most recent action, is that Winston needs to amend its development application to show how it will address parking long-term within its leasehold area, include Building 5 in its major remodel, and show how the resulting development will bring Buildings 1 to 5 up to current codes. The City once again extended the deadline for the completed redevelopment plan, with a new deadline of July 23, 2021.