Archives: News 2003


Rancho Del Mar: Citizen’s Managed Growth Initiative Under Assault 

Article from C3 Views - A Journal of Regional Planning Issues for San Diego County 

posted 12/18/12

Rancho Del Mar Project and its summary characteristics from page 2 of the article
Click on table for enlargement

"In the flood plain directly North of the Polo Fields East of Del
Mar there is a proposal on nearly 24 acres to build 224 dwelling
units ranging in size from studio apartments to over 2,200 square
foot “Casitas”. !e Project is referred to as Rancho Del Mar. A
December 8, 2011 report to the City of San Diego Planning
Commission indicates there will be “on site restaurant, lounges,
bars and other amenities.”

"There is one “minor” detail about this effort. The project is located
in the North City Future Urbanizing Area (FUA) on land
intended to be preserved as open space and/or undeveloped until
and unless development is approved by a public vote. ...

continuation of the article in pdf format here

Protect San Dieguito River Valley Coalition

posted 08/12/12

Letter from the Sierra Club to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith - HERE

Protect San Dieguito River Valley Coalition

posted 06/01/12

City of San Diego: excerpts from the 2008 General Plan, Land Use and Community Planning Element.  

Protect San Dieguito River Valley Coalition

posted 05/08/12


Protect SDRV is a new coalition of environmental groups and affected residents, challenging the City of San Diego Planning Commission's vote of support for a continuing care facility at the northeastern corner of El Camino Real and Via de la Valle.  The coalition believes the Commission's decision violates Proposition A approved by San Diego voters in 1985 that requires a citywide vote to approve any shift of predominately agriculturally zoned land to a Planned Urbanizing designation, or an intensification of use in this area. Protect SDRV believes the high-density Rancho Del Mar development is inconsistent with current zoning and must be placed on the ballot for voter approval.           

On April 20 2012 the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority  unanimously approved a letter to the City’s Land Use and Housing Committee asking for a moratorium on any further processing of the project application and a meeting of concerned parties.          

With assistance from the Friends, the Protect SDRV Coalition has established a legal defense fund and has retained an environmental law firm. The coalition is actively seeking contributions to the defense fund.


Coastal Commission Adopts 22nd DAA Restoration plan.

posted 12/14/12

SOL Restoration Area
Map above from page 27 of the Coastal Commission Staff Report

In March 2012, the Coastal Commission ordered the 22nd DAA to remedy long standing violations. Within 6 months the District was mandated to submit a plan to fully restore the Del Mar Fairgrounds South Overflow Lot to tidal wetlands.

In compliance with these orders, the District submitted a Restoration Plan for the western part of the South Overflow Lot. At its November 2012 meeting, the Commission approved the plan for this restoration shown on the picture above.

Coastal Commission Staff Report here35 pages



Second Review of the Rancho Del Mar project.
New assessment letter from San Diego Planning Department to Ali Shapouri dated November 06 2012, (election day).

posted 12/05/12

November 6, 2012
Via Email:
Mr. Ali Shapouri Shapouri & Associates P.O. Box 676221 Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Dear Mr. Shapouri:

Subject: Rancho Del Mar Assessment Letter; Project No. 226777; SAP No. 24001352; Proposition "A" Lands,
Subarea II

The Development Services Department has completed the second review of the project referenced above, and described by your application as a:

•    Conditional Use Permit & Site Development Permit for Environmentally Sensitive Lands and Parcel Map to develop a continuing care retirement community of 224 dwelling units on a vacant 23.88 acre site at 3975 Via De La Valle in the AR-1 -1 Zone within the NCFUA Subarea II in Council District 1.

The recent review of the project had multiple review cycles. Enclosed is a Cycle 15, 16, 20 and 22 Issues Report (Enclosure 1) which contains review comments from staff representing various disciplines. The purpose of this assessment letter is to summarize the significant project issues and identify a course of action for the processing of your project.

continuation in pdf format here  (3MB)

Rancho Del Mar Continuing Care Community (ex Hu property)

posted 03/09/12

This is a project to develop a continuing care retirement community of 224 dwelling units. The location is a vacant 23.88acre site at 3975 Via de la Valle, SE of the intersection of Via de la Valle and El Camino Real. It is north of the Rancho Santa Fe Polo Field in the AR-1-1 Zone of San Diego.

On Dec. 11 2011 the City of San Diego Planning Commission decided that a Continuing Care Community fits the definition of an Intermediate Care Facility thus implying that the Rancho del Mar plan does not fall under the Proposition A public vote requirement.

The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley have been asked to coordinate a Task Force of parties interested in challenging this decision.

After discussion by the Board a motion to coordinate the Task Force was approved. The primary task is to follow up on the San Diego City Attorney’s response to the Carmel Valley Planning Board’s written objection that the Commission decision was a subversion of Proposition A.



Via de la Valle Widening 

originally posted 10/27/10

Preparatory work on the widening of Via de la Valle is continuing. As the road is narrower (60 ft. curb to curb) than originally planned, there will be fewer impacts on surrounding properties. The Ag District is requesting a retaining wall to maximize Horse Park uses. Questions  and comments following the 2006 EIR are being reconsidered.



The Consent Cease and Desist Order

posted 09/20/12

The Consent Cease and Desist Order approved by the CA Coastal Commission on March 08, 2012 required the 22nd DAA to submit within 6 months a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application that addresses both the existing and proposed uses that the 22nd DAA would like to implement or retain on the East Overflow Lot, South Overflow Lot and the Golf Driving Range.

At the 22nd DAA Board meeting of September 11, 2012, Dustin Fuller, Senior Environmental Planner, announced that these applications had been submitted to the Coastal Commission as required by the Coastal Commission.

Request for copies of these documents should be submitted to Dustin Fuller at

22nd DAA: Coastal Commission Cease and Desist Order


posted 06/16/12

On July 11, Jacqueline Winterer, representing the Friends, addressed the members of the California Coastal Commission (CCC) meeting in Chula Vista.

At issue were the timeliness of the wetland delineation survey for the East Overflow Lot (EOL), and the scraping and grading undertaken by the 22nd DAA while the wetland delineation was being made.

See the comments made to the CCC by Jacqueline Winterer, and the photographs taken by Dwight Worden.

  • Comments made to CCC on July 11, 2012 by Jacqueline WintererHERE
  • Photographs taken by Dwight WordenHERE
  • Letter to the CCC by District 3 Supervisor Pamela Slater-PriceHERE

California Coastal Commission Meeting of June 14 2012 in Huntington Beach 

posted 05/26/12

Agenda item of interest :

 a. Application No. 6-11-66 (22nd District Agricultural Association, Del Mar) Application of 22nd District Agricultural Assoc. for Phase I of South Overflow Lot (SOL) restoration to include: 

Restoration of 2.14 acres in the SOL and 0.93 acres along northern bank of San Dieguito River (East Berm) to create salt marsh habitat to including grading, planting, buffers and monitoring, at Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, San Diego County. (ES-SD)

Cease and Desist!

posted 05/01/12

The California Coastal Commission has issued a Cease and Desist order and a Restoration order to the 22nd Agricultural District (Fairgrounds) after negotiations with the DAA Board.

These Orders address claimed violations of the Coastal Act. The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley and the Del Mar Lagoon Committee have followed this closely for several years and have thoroughly documented unpermitted activities. These include illegal use and illegal fill of the wetlands adjacent to the river, unauthorized events particularly on the south and east parking lots and the erection of large signs near the freeway.

The Coastal Commission met in Chula Vista on March 7. 2012 for final approval.  Here is the report, submitted on March 8.

The 2-page Orders specify in detail expected environmental restoration within short time frames and required applications for coastal permits for past unpermitted activities.


For the complete text of the DAA-approved version of the Orders visit:

Also see

FSDRV reference documents here>>

I-5 Expansion
Please note that some of the entries on this page were carried over from 2010 and 2011.


Interstate 5 Widening Project

posted 09/11/12

On August 31, Caltrans released a Supplemental DEIR for the I-5 widening project. The document includes clarifying information about recently completed lagoon hydrology studies, as well as proposed community and regional enhancement features.
The Supplemental DEIR affirms the Express Lanes Only option (8+4 buffer alternative) as the preferred Caltrans alternative. This alternative adds 50 feet on each side and impacts 24 acres of coastal wetland.

A public forum will be held on September 19 at the Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, from 6 to 8.00 PM. Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide formal comments on the new items not contained in the original Draft EIR. Other comments can be submitted by web, email, or US mail. Click on the link below for details on how to do this. 

All comments must be submitted by October 15, 2012.

Click here for full details of the project and a copy of the Supplemental DEIR.

Printed copies of the I-5 Supplemental EIR are available for review at many libraries including Del Mar, Carmel Valley, and Solana Beach.

JPA Citizen's Advisory Committee  I-5 Presentation.

posted 02/14/12

photo from
for enlargement of map click here

CALTRANS made a presentation to the JPA Citizens Advisory Committee on plans for the 27 miles of the North Coast Corridor from La Jolla to Oceanside. 700,000 cars a day move through that corridor. The project is consistent with SB 468 sponsored by Senator Kehoe.
Caltrans is fast tracking the express lanes (HOV) starting first with the development of plans for public review in Fall 2012 and  construction scheduled to begin in late 2013.

The addition of 2 HOV lanes on the I -5 bridge over the San Dieguito River will impact the River Park trail . Preservation of the existing bridge and its foot print will be accomplished by steepening the slopes on either side of the bridge.

There are longer term Caltrans plans to add a bicycle lane along the west side of the I-5 corridor.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Motion to Intervene in Lawsuit Seeking Improvements to San Diego Regional Transit Plan
Click here for important new information on a motion by the Attorney General  related to the San Diego Regional Transit Plan.

Transnet information on I-5 widening in the La Jolla to Oceanside sector.  

posted 01/07/12      here

Governor signs Kehoe amended I-5 expansion bill 

posted 10/12/11

Governor brown has signed the I-5 expansion bill SB468 originated by Senator Kehoe and amended to include only the 27 mile North Coastal Corridor.

  • It requires public transit improvements to be made as part of the 40 year construction project.
  • It limits expansion to two lanes in each direction.
  • It will require the taking of about 10 properties instead of 421 in the original Caltrans plan.
  • It requires railroad and bridge work to take place concurrently over the six coastal lagoons along the route mitigating environmental impacts.

This is partly the result of wide community interest and attendance at Caltrans meetings and is the plan backed by SANDAG and the affected cities.  It will provide a blue print for future highway construction.

Direct Access Ramp to Fairgrounds

posted 09/09/11

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the I-5 expansion identified, but did not specify, potential traffic impacts from proposed Flower Hill Promenade and Fairgrounds projects.

A Direct Access Ramp (DAR) to serve the Fairgrounds would feed into a proposed 5 or 6 story parking garage, on the east lot, in the flood plain west of I-5.

Local architect Bill Lewis and associates have designed an alternate plan . Both plans would include bridges or flyovers to cross the freeway adding to the footprint of the I-5 build-out. The Del Mar City Council has suggested that CALTRANS/SANDAG should reconsider the DAR for handling fairgrounds traffic. It is likely that the Via de la Valle interchange will have to be rebuilt.

The challenge is to understand the impacts of all the potential design elements.  The  I-5 corridor across the San Dieguito River is likely to be 39 feet wider on both sides without a DAR.  So what would the DAR add? It will include bridges with feeder ramps linked to a parking structure, etc.  It will impact the newly restored lagoon and wetlands. It will generate more noise and traffic. It will not be aesthetically pleasing.

Obviously transportation alternatives must be considered. Careful presentation of alternatives, with accurate visual depictions of all elements and cost estimates, needs to be presented to the surrounding communities in the near term.

posted 07/11/11

In our estimation CALTRANS has picked the best option for expansion of I-5 across the San Dieguito Lagoon. It will add one extra carpool lane in each direction. This is least intrusive and will result in 12 through lanes. Presently there are two extra auxiliary lanes. Only final design of the whole project will show if these two lanes are maintained. Paint striping will replace the concrete barrier option for delineating the express lanes.

CALTRANS has received 5000 comments from the public, impacted agencies and cities and has hosted public meetings which have influenced the choice. 

CALTRANS choice follows the recommendations of Senate Bill 468 sponsored by Senator Kehoe and is compatible with local communities’ suggestions.

The I-5 expansion is part of a larger project including train double tracking along the coastal corridor , lagoon restoration, and the addition of bike and pedestrian paths. Details of the 40 year, $6 billion project have still to be worked out and final Coastal Commission approval must be sought after further public meetings.

<<I-5 expansion: San Diego City Council action
posted 06/29/11

The San Diego City Council voted 5-3 to urge SANDAG to adopt a policy which prioritizes mass transit and sustainable transportation projects over highway expansion in its county transportation plan.

This direction was dropped from Senator Kehoe's I-5 expansion bill, SB468, which is currently making its way through the State legislature. It did retain a plan to constrain the number of lanes to 12 in the La Jolla to Oceanside corridor and to pay special attention to the impacts on coastal lagoons.

<<Kehoe Bill passes the Senate
posted 06/17/11

California Senate Bill 468 carried by Senator Kehoe has passed the Senate (24-15) on June 1, 2011 and now heads for the Assembly and the Governor's signature.

It requires transit in the I-5 corridor to be improved concurrently with any highway expansion. 

It improves Coaster and Amtrak services and also requires special attention to preserve the six coastal lagoons in the corridor. 

It limits expansion in the La Jolla to Oceanside section to two managed lanes in each direction which makes a total of 12 lanes . There is a possibility for tolls in the area thereby raising funds for public transportation.

<<Senate Bill 468: I-5 expansion

posted 05/26/11

State Senator Kehoe has revised Senate Bill 468.  The bill now only affects the expansion of Interstate I-5  in San Diego County. It limits this to 12 lanes ( 8 plus 4 with buffer option) instead of the 14 lanes ( 10 plus 4 with barriers alternatives)  favored by CALTRANS. The bill would permit SANDAG to go ahead and expand immediately with the "transit first" requirement removed. It would provide some protection for wetlands and improve air quality.

< FSDRV/SANDAG has spoken

posted 12/19/10

SANDAG endorsed a 110 billion Regional Transportation Plan for the next 40 years that includes the expansion of I-5 through North County with a potential widening to 14 lanes ( a mix of 10 general use and 4 managed lanes.). Some home owners whose houses were going to be condemned testified against the scale of the project to no avail.
The full SANDAG board approved the plan with 3 votes against: Lesa Heebner of Solana Beach, Carl Hilliard of Del Mar and Art Madrid of La Mesa.

What happens next?

During the next couple of months, SANDAG's planners and engineers will turn the document into the formal regional plan, with more detailed information on when projects would begin and how much will be spent.
That with the final Environmental Impact Report will be the subject of public hearings in April.

summary by Jacqueline Winterer of UT article

< Letter from FSDRV in response to the I-5 expansion EIR

posted 11/30/10

The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley have reviewed the Draft EIR (DEIR) for the I-5 North Coast Corridor Project and respectfully submit our comments. The Friends was established in l986 as an incorporated volunteer citizens group to advocate for the preservation of the San Dieguito River Valley and has been involved since that time in providing community input. We are also a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the San Dieguito River Park and support the River Park Concept Plan approved by the City of San Diego in 1994 and updated in 2004.  We would like to draw your attention to the Plan’s stated special design considerations for the area of the proposed widening of I-5 at the San Dieguito River Valley, which include:

  • Protection of the sweeping open space views within this landscape;
  • Compatibility of future development with the open space character of the lagoon and surrounding area in terms of both visual compatibility and intensity of use;
  • Preservation and, where appropriate, enhancement of view opportunities of the lagoon and ocean from trails and existing circulation routes; and
  • Provision of an adequate buffer between development and sensitive resources in order to reduce adverse impacts associated with noise, lighting and intensive human activity.



posted 08/28/10

Your last chance to question CalTrans about their Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed expansion of I-5 from La Jolla to Oceanside is September 9 in Oceanside. Information at the public hearing, the last of five, will be presented in an Open House format with staff available at large tables with enlarged copies of drawings, tables and data reports.  Usually four staff are available at each table to answer questions about different aspects of the Report, for instance, project design, environment impacts, noise and condemned properties associated with the 27-mile project.  You can move between the tables asking questions anytime between 5 and 8 p.m.

Some of the alternative designs call for ten single-vehicle traffic lanes plus four HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles such as car pools and buses) lanes that will encroach upon wetlands, including the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project in the River Valley. The Department has informed the public in written notice that it intends to make a de minimis impact finding (will not adversely affect the activities, features or attributes qualifying for protection unless there is adequate mitigation) for eligible, i.e. public, properties. But CalTrans has specifically exempted right of way land to be taken for expansion in the Lagoon area because it is “privately” owned by Southern California Edison even though the property is part of the San Dieguito River Park and contains a public regional trail!  This is just one of the environmental impacts we are reviewing.  And we want you to get involved.

If you have not already attended one of these informational meetings we encourage you to do so and get answers to your questions.  The best way to prepare for the hearing is to review the DEIR on line at or at local libraries including Del Mar and Carmel Valley.  If you live in Del Mar you may also attend workshop meetings at the Del Mar Annex. These meetings are posted on this website.

Your comments and concerns regarding the proposed project and potential impacts on the Lagoon and River Park are important.  You may submit your written comments at the September 9 meeting; via regular mail to Shay Lynn M. Harrison, Branch Chief, Environmental Planning Branch C, CalTrans District 11, (MS 242), 4050 Taylor St., San Diego, CA 92110; or by e-mail via the website noted above.  All comments are due no later than October 7, 2010.   The last scheduled CalTrans public hearing will be held on September 9.     

< Public meeting opposing Caltrans I-5 widening project

posted 08/27/10

On August 19 a public meeting at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church attracted about 300 people concerned with the release by Caltrans of the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed widening of Interstate 5. The meeting was organized by two groups opposed to the project.

The La Jolla to Oceanside Project proposes to widen Interstate 5 over a distance of 27 miles. Several speakers addressed the environmental and physical impact of the widening with the loss of some properties and the creation of what will mostly be a wide corridor dedicated to even more cars.

The impact to the San Dieguito River Park will result in loss of space taken by the freeway, more noise and pollution for pedestrians walking the trails as well as possible effects on wildlife. The section of the Coast to Crest Trail  just east of I-5, which is part of the recent San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration project, will be negatively impacted.

Caltrans was invited but declined to participate. Mostly the public spoke in opposition to the scale of the project . Look out for further chances for comment.

< Meetings re Proposed Expansion of I-5 from La Jolla to Oceanside: Thursday,  August 19 and Tuesday, August 24 

posted 08/14/10

AUGUST 19 AND AUGUST 24: Two meetings will be held on the proposed expansion of I-5 from La Jolla to Oceanside.  We are concerned about potential negative impacts on the restored San Dieguito Lagoon with its revitalized bird and fish sanctuaries on both the west and east sides of I-5 at the Via de la Valle/I-5 intersection.  The Friends will be reviewing the Draft EIR that has just been released, and we encourage interested residents to attend the meetings, to participate in the informational sessions (one sponsored by two citizens groups and the other by CalTrans) and to submit your concerns to CalTrans. 




Coast to Coast Mileage Marker project

posted 09/05/12

By Jacqueline Winterer and Bill Farrell, Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley

Photo © Bill Farrell

The Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley have undertaken to design, locate and provide significant funding for mileage markers along the San Dieguito Coast to Crest Trail.

This venture was carried out in cooperation with the San Dieguito River Park with additional funding from the Conservancy. The purposes of the mile markers are many. Segments of the 55-mile Coast to Crest trail are familiar to those who live nearby, less so to those who live farther away. By knowing the mileage number of any site, hikers will all have a sense of the relative location of the various trail features.

Photo © Bill Farrell

Public safety is another element. The trail is only thinly patrolled, and trail users in distress will be able to seek help from first responders by identifying the nearest mile marker.

Markers in interesting locations will be embossed with QR (quick response) codes, the small square logos now seen more and more frequently. By passing the camera of a cell phone over the pattern, the hiker will see a web page with pertinent information. The pages will be created and maintained by the River Park staff.

The exact routing of the trail is not entirely fixed, but it is relatively well defined over the first 30 miles, from the entrance at the boardwalk portion on Jimmy Durante Blvd to a little past the Zoo's Safari Park in the San Pasqual valley. The River Park staff use Google Earth to manage the cartography. We took the list of 2000 waypoints, turned the locations into cumulative distance from the origin, and calculated the provisional locations of the 60 markers (mile and half-mile).

The first half-mile marker will be located near the newly installed San Dieguito River Park entry monument on Jimmy Durante Boulevard across from the Del Mar Fire Station. More will then be installed along the trail up to El Camino Real. A 6-mile hiatus will follow until the trail alignment is negotiated through Rancho Santa Fe.

The installation of the mile markers will resume at mile 10, in the western Santa Fe Valley, and the markers will be placed continuously until mile 32 at the eastern end of the San Pasqual Valley.

On Saturday August 18, from 4.00 to 6.00 PM, a park ranger will lead a walk along the Coast to Crest trail, from the San Andres Drive southern end to the entry monument on Jimmy Durante Blvd and back, inaugurating the bilingual self-guided walk.





MAY 2003

Rancho Guejito

posted 05/01/12


Rancho Guejito is located east of Escondido and stretches almost from SR 78 in San Pasqual Valley  north to SR 76. Within Rancho Guejito's boundaries is a 13,000-acre area granted to José Maria Orozco by the Mexican Government in 1845. It is the last undivided, undeveloped Mexican land grant in the state. Subsequent US owners have expanded the property bringing it to its current size of 36 sq.miles.       
The present owner, the Rancho Guejito Corporation, is seeking to develop the property on a large scale, but current zoning laws prohibit that type of development. The owner is suing the county over its recently approved general plan update, which allows development of only one house per 80 acres.

Recently Rancho Guejito was in the news when a road was created without permits . Critics claimed this was an attempt to pave an access for construction on the site. The county and several agencies cited the owner for the grading of a 1.2 mile road. The corporation is appealing these violations.      



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.