Archives: Current Issues 2004

Polo Club Violations  (06/27/04)

Note red arrows pointing to boundary stakes.


The City of San Diego has issued a grading violation against the San Diego Polo Club and directed that the grading be corrected. The above picture tells the story.

The Polo Club has graded land extending into the San Dieguito River wetlands in order to provide an exercise track for polo horses. The stakes with pink ribbons show that the grading extends even beyond the Club’s lease boundaries. Not only is this a violation against the wetlands; it eliminates potential use of the area as a public trail. (A complete history of how the lease came about can be found at Polo Fields History .)

In February , the Friends, through an attorney, expressed concerns regarding the Club’s lease violations and our fear that the Club might eliminate the potential for a 55-mile trail system, promised in 1982 as part of the River Park’s Coast-to-Crest-Trail. River Park staff and Richard Geisler, aide to City of San Diego First District Councilmember Scott Peters, met with Polo Club executives after the grading violation was issued. They were assured that a public trail for walkers, hikers, bicyclists and riders would be part of the new plan.

On June 21, we got our first look at the new plan. The Polo Club is proposing that the exercise track stay in place—and also be used as the public multi-use trail! The intent of the River Park’s public trail is to provide a “hiking/equestrian trail and a separate suitably-surfaced bicycle/wheelchair/jogging path …in order to reach all segments of the community.” The trail system is meant to enhance public awareness and enjoyment of the park’s unique environment. We cannot allow the Club to destroy the wetlands environment. Nor can we picture a successful public, multi-use trail which is shared with strings of horses being exercised...

The City has never responded to our letter of concerns. What will they do with this new grading plan? Friends are encouraged to contact either Councilmember Scott Peters or his aide for North County, Richard Geisler, at 202 C Street, MS 10A, San Diego 92101, or call (619) 236-6611 to support correction of the grading violation and development of the public trail, as set forth in the River Park’s Concept Plan.

—Ann Gardner

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