Current Issues
2013
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Polo Fields: Will the Polo Club Stay?

posted 05/01/12

 

The lease between the City of San Diego and the Polo Club expired in March, and the City is drafting a Request For Proposals (RFP) inviting bids for a new lease.  In the meantime the Polo Club continues to lease the City-owned property, at the corner of Via de la Valle and El Camino Real adjacent to the San Dieguito River, on a month-to-month basis.

Activities sponsored by the Polo Club have drawn criticism from adjacent neighborhoods and environmental groups, including the Friends.  Neighbors have complained about the voluminous traffic and parking that occurs during the popular Surf Cup tournaments, in violation of the lease that prohibited “large assemblages of people or automobiles” and restricted use of the property to polo related activities only. The Friends and the San Dieguito River Park were also involved in a lengthy civil action against the Club when it began disking the publics trail next to River and using the degraded trail and buffer zone as an exercise track for their ponies.  The exercise track was eventually moved but the required restoration has yet to take place.

With the hope that a new lease might promote a more environmentally sensitive use of the property and eliminate future complaints, the Friends have asked the City to highlight certain conditions in the RFP, including:

-The 80-acre site is designated as Open Space to be kept and preserved in “a natural condition as near as possible,”
-A minimum 100-foot wide buffer that includes the public trail between the leasehold and the River,
-Restoration of the public trail and habitat,
-Minimize impact to the River habitat and environment, and
-The public trail shall remain open to the public at all times and, as appropriate, the property is open to the public for passive uses, e.g. picnicking and Frisbee, that would not interfere with the lessee’s operations.

We continue to monitor the City’s RFP process for leasing this important piece of publicly-owned open space in the River Valley, and will keep readers informed.

        

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