|Summary||The Del Mar Fairgrounds applied for year-round parking lot on a wetland site where they admitted to previously illegally filling and grading.|
|Outcome Description||Approved by a vote of 7-3, with Schallenberger, Zimmer, and Groom as the only Commissioners voting to protect the wetlands. (See: “Why the Commission Was Wrong”)|
|Why You Should Care|| The Commission allowed a huge parking lot, illegally created on a wetland, to continue for 10 more years with no mitigation. This is a terrible precedent. For the past 40 years, the Del Mar Fairgrounds repeatedly ignored and violated the Coastal Act by grading and filling a wetland for parking. In a legal deal with the Commission, the Fairgrounds admitted these violations.
The Fairgrounds now seeks a year-round parking lot over the very wetland they admitted to illegally grading and filling. The wetland would recover if not constantly graded. Green groups, local elected leaders, and Commission staff all urged a minor concession to allow the lower 1/3 of the parking lot to revert to wetlands. Yet, the Commission grants a permit, allowing 10 MORE years of illegal parking lot use, but drops one small wetland recovery and mitigation clause.
|Decision Type||Coastal Development Permit|
|Staff Recommendation||Approve the permit, with conditions, including protecting 1/3rd of the lot to a natural wetland.|
|Lobbyist/Agent||Susan McCabe, Adam Day, David Watson|
|Opposition to Project||Opponents urge protecting the lower 1/3 of the East parking lot. The Fairgrounds own study finds parking alternatives. There is no basis for the Commission to choose cars over wetlands. Wetlands must be protected. The Fairgrounds already agreed to return the South parking lot to wetland to mitigate for years of Coastal Act violations. The Fairgrounds cannot claim the “South” lot restoration is mitigation for continued grading and fill of the illegal East parking lot.|
|Coastal Act Policies||30233, 30007.5|
|Dr. Robert Garcia|
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.