Archives: Current Issues



< Greenway

From: Senator Kehoe <Senator.Kehoe@SENATE.CA.GOV>
Date: July 1, 2010 5:34:43 PM PDT
Subject: SB

posted 07/02/10

Dear Supporters of the Del Mar Greenway:

I am deeply disappointed to inform you that my bill to establish a permanent public open space along the San Dieguito River at the Del Mar fairgrounds failed yesterday before the Assembly Agriculture committee. 

After successful hearings in the Senate Natural Resources Committee (5-3), Senate Food & Agriculture Committee (3-1), Senate Appropriations (7-3) and the full Senate (21-13), and in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee (6-3) the bill died. Only Assemblymember Jerry Hill supported the bill.

The committee members agreed with the Fairboard's arguements that the 100-foot minimum buffer would hamper expansion plans. The 22nd District Agricultural Association representatives stated that the fair board’s ability to repay its bonds would be jeopardized if they could not maximize the size of their proposed condo-hotel and conference facilities and exhibit halls.  They added that public safety would be compromised because a southern access road could not be retained if the buffer were required.

This despite a letter from Del Mar City Fire Chief Mark Muir confirming that, “The Del Mar Fire Department provides primary emergency response for fire and other emergencies on a year round basis. We have no difficulty with the proposed 100-foot greenway, knowing that recreational paths or trails can be constructed in a manner that will accommodate and support emergency vehicle access and also comply with local and state fire codes.”  Both the Fire Chief in his letter to the committee and in my testimony we pointed out that there is no approved development plan for the fairgrounds at this time.

SB 1177 was unanimously supported by the city councils of Del Mar, Solana Beach and the City of San Diego and by County Supervisorand Chair of the San Dieguito River Park JPA Pam Slater-Price, by over 20 environmental and community organizations and many individuals. And I thank all of you for your support. 

I will continue to advocate for the protection of the San Dieguito River and public access to this special area. It’s the right thing to do. Thank you for your help on this important issue.  We will continue our work together!

Senator Christine Kehoe

< Greenway misinformation from fairgrounds CEO

posted 06/25/10

To: Editor, San Diego Union: June 1, 2010

I wish to point out some factual errors in Mr Timothy Fennell’s editorial piece of May 28 entitled “Proposal would cripple Fairgrounds, costing jobs and tax revenue.”

Timing: Senate Bill 1177 proposes the creation of a 100-foot Greenway and trail along the southern edge of the Fairgrounds property. This 100 ft set back is a standard set back required of all upcoming coastal developments by the California Coastal Act and would only be implemented when the Fairgrounds Master Plan itself is implemented. The date of 2014 for implementation was drawn from the Fairgrounds construction time line presented in their 2009 Master Plan.

Senator Kehoe has frequently stated that the Greenway timeline could be adjusted; SB 1177 has now been modified to accommodate the Fairgrounds modified timeline, postponing by the implementation of the Fairgrounds Master Plan by 7 to 10 years.

Recycling revenue: seventy one percent of recycling material is generated by the horses and is not processed in the area of the proposed Greenway. The March 9, 2010 Fairgrounds agenda for the Board of Directors’ meeting reported that 8566 tons of recycled material was manure which is generated near the stables and at the Horse Park facility. Moving the recycling center out of the Greenway is a minor project and would not eliminate the recycling program.

Environmental stewardship: the Fairgrounds doesn’t comply with environmental laws as stated by Mr Fennell. In a 2003 decision the Coastal Commission has specifically re-stated it’s position that the Fairgrounds could only use the dirt lots during the Fair and Racing seasons because those lots were wetlands that have been filled. In defiance of this State of California ruling, the Fairgrounds uses these lots for pumpkin and Christmas tree sales, large storage trailers and numerous instances of parking other than during the Fair and Races. Without getting the required permits, the Fairgrounds builds huge advertisements along the freeway in defiance of the federal law which prohibits such advertisement.

Master Plan Greenway. Finally the Master Plan “greenway” as proposed by the Faigrounds for the northern riverbank west of Jimmy Durante Boulevard is in fact a 12-14 high landscaped levee which would deflect flood waters on the city of Del Mar’s public works building and a residential neighborhood.

The SB 1177 Greenway would afford an area that would help absorb flood waters rather than concentrating their destructive force on City of Del Mar properties,

If the leadership of the Del Mar Fairgrounds would invest more time considering how they might support California laws, they might not need to waste so much time in self-serving misinformation campaigns.

Jacqueline Winterer, President

< SB 1177 Greenway Bill - Summary history courtesy of Senator Kehoe's office.

posted 06/19/2010

  • SB1177 started in the Senate. Passed Natural Resources and Water 4/13/10 5-3 vote Passed Senate Food and Agriculture 4/20/10 3-1 vote
  • Went to Senate Appropriations where amendments were taken 7-3 vote
  • Passed full Senate 6/1/10 with amendments 21-13 vote
  • Moves to Assembly where it will be heard on 6/28/10 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee
  • Next to the Assembly Agriculture Committee on 6/30/10
  • Then to the full Assembly (no date yet – depends upon what happens with the budget hearings.)
  • Then because there were amendments, it will go to a Conference Committee made up of representatives of the Senate and Assembly.
  • Then to the Governor – at which point we’ll need to get lots of letters sent to the Governor urging him to sign the bill.

< Alert:  We need your help again!

posted 06/19/2010

SB 1177 has cleared the Senate and is set for its first hearing in the Assembly on Monday, June 28th. Thank you so much for your support for the Greenway bill! The bill was amended on June 1st, which means we need updated “support” letters for our next round of hearings. Below is a sample letter – feel free to modify. We need the new letter (signed and dated) as soon as possible as a pdf emailed to or faxed to Senator Kehoe’s San Diego District Office at 619-645-3144.

Barring any further amendments in the Assembly, it goes to the Governor. We’ll be back in touch then requesting letters to the Governor requesting that he sign the legislation. That will be in late August/early September.

Here’s an update on what’s in the bill. The amendments removed the specific completion dates in the original bill because the 22nd District Agricultural Association (DAA) has stated the projects included in the yet-to-be-adopted Master Plan will most likely be delayed 5 to 7 years due to the economy. SB 1177 now ties full implementation of creating the 100-foot buffer to the initiation of any of the Master Plan projects, most likely through requirements that would be part of the Coastal Development Permit process.

The amended SB 1177 includes requirements that the Fair Board would have to make in the interim – principally removing equipment and materials from along the river and requiring the extension of the Coast to Crest Trail to the lagoon. The trailers parked adjacent to I-5 that are used as storage containers are also required to be moved for almost half the year, and no more banners may be hung on them.

The Del Mar Greenway bill will establish a natural buffer and guarantee permanent public access along the river. The Draft EIR for the 2008 Fairgrounds Master Plan calls for only a 10-foot wide path and narrow slope to a driveway behind the condo-hotel and exhibit areas as the only buffer between the river and proposed development.

What SB 1177 does:
Section 4158 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code requiring the 22nd DAA to develop, manage and maintain a minimum 100-foot wide greenway zone along the north bank of the San Dieguito River from I-5 to the San Diego Northern Railway right-of-way to protect, enhance and restore the overall environmental quality of the San Dieguito River and adjacent wetlands. The greenway zone must be planted and maintained with native vegetation.  Within the greenway zone, the Coast to Crest Trail will be extended from its current terminus on Fairgrounds property at Jimmy Durante Blvd. to the Lagoon.

The amended bill specifies that the minimum 100-foot buffer zone be completed in two phases.

Phase one requires the minimum 100-foot wide natural buffer to be complete by 2012 from I-5 to the Jimmy Durante Blvd. and bridge. The Coast to Crest Trail is already complete in this area.

Phase two:  The area from Jimmy Durante Blvd. west to the San Diego Northern Railroad right-of-way shall be completed prior to a certificate of occupancy being issued for a new exhibit hall. This phase is contingent upon the 22nd DAA moving forward with any portion of the 2008 proposed Master Plan in order for the minimum 100-foot natural buffer to be completed.

In the interim, prior to the implementation of any near-term or long-term projects that may be developed as part of the 2008 Master Plan, the 22nd District Agricultural Association must remove equipment, potting soil, fill dirt, construction materials, and other materials stored between the northern edge of the San Dieguito River to the existing southern access road, except for the area where the existing Recycling Center is located. The Recycling Center is proposed to be relocated as a near-term project in the 2008 Master Plan.

The 22nd DAA shall issue an easement to the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) for the design, construction, maintenance, and monitoring of an extension of the Coast to Crest Trail from Jimmy Durante Blvd. west to the Lagoon.

The 22nd DAA shall work with the JPA and San Dieguito River Conservancy to facilitate the cleanup and restoration of the area between the river and the southern access road until such time as a regulatory agency such as the California Coastal Commission requires the buffer area to be created. The Coastal Commission, State Fish & Game Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service all submitted letters in response to the Draft EIR for the 2008 Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan citing a minimum 100-foot natural buffer along the river.

The recreational trail must be designed in consultation with the Department of Fish and Game, Department of Parks and Recreation and the JPA. Maintenance and management of this section of the Coast to Crest Trail is the responsibility of the San Dieguito River Park JPA.

The amended bill clarifies that the greenway zone itself does not include Jimmy Durante Blvd. or the Jimmy Durante Blvd. Bridge.

SB 1177 requires that at no time shall the area of the greenway zone be used for development or parking.

The greenway zone shall be permanently dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the public, so that if the 22nd DAA ceases to exist or sells the property, the greenway and public access trail shall remain, including a requirement that the greenway be transferred to the San Dieguito River Park JPA or to the Department of Fish and Game so that it remains in public ownership.

The use of truck trailers located adjacent to I-5 or elsewhere in the San Dieguito River Valley viewshed as storage units shall be limited to the annual fair season and during annual live horse racing until a regulatory agency directs otherwise. No signage shall be allowed at any time.

What SB 1177 Does Not Do:  It does not require the removal of the Recycling Center. It does not affect the use of or access to the southern access road on the Fairgrounds property.

Thanks –


Deanna Spehn
Policy Director
Senator Christine Kehoe
39th State Senate District
2445 5th Avenue, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92101
Fax 619-645-314

< Senator Kehoe bill SB 1177 passed by Food and Agriculture Committee

posted 04/20/2010

On April 20 2010 the Senate Food and Agriculture Committee passed SB 1177 which was originally introduced by Senator Kehoe. It would require the
 fairgrounds to develop and manage a minimum 100ft   greenway along the north bank of the San Dieguito River by Jan 2014.

This follows earlier  passage of the bill by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.   details

< Kehoe's greenway bill passes committee

posted 04/13/2010

SAN DIEGO – Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) announced that her legislation to create a greenway along the Del Mar Fairgrounds and San Dieguito River passed a Senate committee today. 

“I’m thankful that members of the committee agree that this bill is needed to provide a permanent buffer between Fairground buildings and the river, restore natural wetlands, and ensure public access to this special state asset,” Kehoe said.  “The legislation would also build upon the recent environmental restoration of the San Dieguito Lagoon, which has already seen a boost to its fish and wildlife population.” 

The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee passed SB 1177 by a vote of 6-2 and the measure will next be heard by the Senate Food and Agriculture Committee. 

Kehoe’s legislation would require the Del Mar Fairgrounds to develop and manage a minimum 100-foot-wide greenway along the north bank of the San Dieguito River, stretching from I-5 to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.  The greenway, which would help extend the Coast to Crest Trail through the Fairgrounds, must be completed by Jan. 1, 2014.  To view the text of the bill, visit click on “legislation.”

< SB 1177: Senator Kehoe

posted 03/24/2010

The Friends of San Dieguito River Valley wrote to State Senator Kehoe a letter of support for SB 1177.

SB 1177 would require a greenway zone to be dedicated for the permanent use and enjoyment of the public on the South side of the Fairgrounds, along the north bank of the San Dieguito River. If the 22nd DAA ceases to exist or if a part or all the property is sold, the greenway and public access trail would remain.

We stressed the  importance of preserving public access and passive recreational uses along the river on this unique piece of state property. With a minimum 100-foot buffer, the vegetation in the area will begin to recover,  as is seen in the surrounding river valley open space.

For further reading, click HERE to read John Graybill's article about the Greenway,
printed in the May 2010 Issue of the Sandpiper.