Archives: Current Issues

22nd DAA: Fairgrounds Master Plan News
Please note that some of the entries on this page were carried over from 2010.


22nd DAA Board meeting of June 7, 2011

Posted 06/13/11

At its meeting of June 7, 2011 the Fair Board finally issued the minutes of their all day meeting of April 14, 2011 in which the Board adopted its Master Plan and certified the Master Plan Final Environmental Impact Report .

A few modifications to the Master Plan were agreed upon including the deletion of the proposed hotel complex and the promise to work with Del Mar and Solana Beach on issues such as the freeway sign. Details can be seen in the following link to the minutes.   here  45 pages/3MB

<<Another lawsuit!

Posted 05/23/11

The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the 22nd Agricultural District (DAA) over its recent approval of the Environmental Impact Report  for the expansion of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The suit seeks to invalidate the environmental  study performed over the past few years. It claims that the propose project fails to comply with environmental requirements and could significantly impact the 86 million San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project.


<<Lawsuit challenging DAA approval of Master Plan.

posted 05/20/11

The cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach have been joined by the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority (JPA) in a lawsuit against the 22nd Agricultural District (DAA). This suit challenges the recent approval of the Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan by the Board. The main complaints are related to the intensity of the proposed development in an area bounded by coastal wetlands without sufficient consideration of the environmental impact of traffic, noise, lighting and other factors.

<<22nd DAA Fair Board meeting of April 18 2011 

posted 04/26/11

The 22nd District  Agricultural Association Board of Directors (22nd DAA) approved an amended  Master Plan 10 years in the making  and certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The EIR is required by the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 to analyze the environmental consequences of projects.
The unanimous Board decision came after several dozens of speakers spoke about the failure of the plan to address various problematic aspects of the project: traffic, noise, pollution and infrastructure.  
Not a single member of the public spoke in support of the plan.

In summary:

• The  330-room hotel and condominium complex  was dropped from the plan in acknowledgment of unfavorable economic conditions. As a consequence the Del Mar Fire station will stay at its present location. 

• A 192 sq.ft electronic sign along I-5 is retained but not before discussions take place with Del Mar, Solana Beach and San Diego on how big the sign should be and where it should be located.

The Fair Board will make final decision.

•  Ball fields on top of new exhibit halls are retained with night lighting, but will only be implemented after discussions on design with Del Mar and Solana Beach The Fair Board will make final decision.
• By moving the location of one of the exhibit halls northward, a 100 foot greenway along San Dieguito River is part of the project.

Finally, aside from the  Master Plan modification, a request was made for staff to produce, within 1 year, a plan to implement the immediate restoration of the South Lot (SOL) to native habitat.

So grudgingly, a few modifications were made to allow more discussions before the most onerous features of the plan were finalized.

<<Fairgrounds Final EIR Hearing April 18

posted 03/11/11

Photo © Freda Reid

  • The date for a full day review of the Fairground Master Plan EIR is now scheduled for April 18, 2011. Although several agencies are asking for ample time to review the EIR before the meeting, it is unlikely that that date will be changed. The EIR is not printed yet and therefore cannot be distributed at this time.

  • Several comments by 22nd DAA Board Members led the public to believe that the Hotel complex would be removed from the EIR. At this meeting Russ Penniman stated that the Hotel complex would in fact be part of the EIR.

  • The Friends submitted a letter ( below)to the Fair Board asking for proof of a permit to display a large BINGO sign along Interstate I-5. Such signs are usually banned.


The 22nd Agricultural District was all set to sneak an application through the Coastal Commission for additional golf and swimming facilities at the Fairgrounds when local groups began complaining about the short notification and sought postponement.

In the meantime the Friends submitted photos of the Fairgrounds flagrant disregard for signage permits, and the Coastal Commission responded by adding new signage restrictions as part of their staff report.  The restrictions spelled out in the staff report now disallow: “…large banners strung between poles or buildings and …signs attached to sides of portable trailers…”

What were the photos?  Photos were of illegal signs on trailers parked next to I-5 and of the Bingo banner, strung up by ropes, also next to the freeway going south. The Friends submitted the photos to the Coastal Commission on March 3 and the new restrictions were delivered to the Ag District shortly thereafter.  On March 7 the 22nd Ag District requested a postponement of the hearing from March 2011 to May 2011.

It also helped that the San Dieguito River Park voiced their concern about the proposed permit application “when violations continue and (are) not adequately monitored.”

letter to Barry Nussbaum>>

Sign on Trailer parked near I-5 freeway


Sign on Trailer, a closer view


Trailers next to the Coast-to-Crest Trail

<<22nd DAA meeting of Jan 11 2011

posted 01/15/11

The Environment Impact Report for the Fairgrounds Master Plan is expected to be ready for Fair Board discussion and possible approval on February 8 beginning at 9:30 a.m., according to Dustin Fuller, 22nd Agricultural District Sr. Environmental Planner.   “We are getting close” to finishing the staff review and providing responses to the “thousands of comments” we received on the Draft, Fuller announced at the Board meeting January 11. Two Board members have indicated they are going to recommend that the controversial 300 room hotel and 48 ft. high electronic Reader Board on I-5 be removed from the Plan.

Ann Gardner

<< Master Plan 330-Room Hotel Update

posted 12/03/2010

Barry Nussbaum, President of the 22nd Agricultural District Board which runs the fairgrounds, will "highly recommend" to the full Board early next year that the 330-room hotel proposed in the Master Plan should be removed from consideration. This has been one of the major points of contention in the hundreds of responses to the EIR for the Master Plan. Nussbaum blamed the decision on the lack of finances. This is good news for the Friends of the San Dieguito RIver valley which has consistently opposed  the commercial expansion.

From Union Tribune, Dec 3, 2010