July 2012 home page

Monster of the Lagoon
Jeffrey Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive


Undeveloped area to the north of the polo field is zoned for very low
density/open space.  Image Google Earth August 28, 2010
Rancho Del Mar Continuing Care Retirement Community. High density development would trample very low-density, open space land off Via de la Valle.


A massively oversized and wholly inappropriate project for a managed care retirement community to be built on the nearly 22-acre floodplain lot between the Polo Fields and Via de la Valle has passed the first stage of approval with the City of San Diego Planning Commission and Development Services Department. County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price called it “an out of control monster.” The lot would be raised 14 feet, constricting the floodplain. What makes it worse is that this 224-dwelling-unit residential care facility (including 52 casitas of 1600 sq. ft.) was passed by a SD Planning Commission ‘classification of use’ determination which conflicts with and ignores (in effect deliberately bypasses) the 1985 Proposition “A” Managed Growth Initiative voted by the people of the City of San Diego. Prop A requires that rezoning for such a project on agriculturally zoned land go to a popular vote. A fine, more detailed article from the C3 newsletter is accessible on the website of the Friends of San Dieguito Valley, fsdrv.org.

A coalition has been formed (Protect San Dieguito Valley) to oppose this project and to restore an awareness among citizens and their representatives, including SD City staff, of the existence, scope, intent and importance of 1985 Proposition A. The coalition began with concerned neighbors (represented by Cory Ha’o) and the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley (represented by Jeff Barnouw). Other civic and environmental groups have since pledged their involvement and support, including the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, C3. Jay Powell, one of the original authors of Prop A, is the chief political consultant, and the Coalition has retained the services of noted land-use Attorney Jan Chatten-Brown.

Members of the Coalition spoke at the April 20 meeting of the Joint Powers Authority of the San Dieguito River Park, and the JPA wrote a letter voicing concern to the City Council Committee on Land Use and Housing, as did the Coalition. Many of the same members spoke again at the May 9 meeting of that committee. Jay Powell and Jeff Barnouw spoke at the June 13 meeting of the Rules Committee of the San Diego City Council, which promised to encourage the LU & H Committee to take up our proposal of a joint workshop with the SD Planning Commission.

It is not clear whether these efforts to encourage the City Planning Commission and Development Services Department (part of the ‘executive branch’ under the new ‘strong mayor’ city government structure) to take another look at the applicability of Prop A to the project in question will be successful. It is possible that there are legal battles ahead. To that end, the Coalition is raising funds for the challenge.

It is important that we stop this project and the underlying trend of neglecting Proposition A. If you care about this, please join our efforts or support them with a contribution. Checks must be made out to ‘Protect San Dieguito River Valley’ (in just those words) and sent to Maggie Brown, Treasurer PSDRV, Box 321, Solana Beach, CA 92075


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