Archives: News 2007


Art Show celebrates San Dieguito River Valley (11/18/07)

 Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley will hold their 9th annual Art Show and Sale on Sunday Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Powerhouse in Del Mar. The Powerhouse Community Center is located at 1658 Coast Boulevard.

 The show will feature silver, beaded and glass jewelry, paintings, cards, ceramics, wood-carved objects and photographs. All the artwork is reasonably priced and just in time for holidaysgiving.


The view looking East from Jimmy Durante Boulevard

The beginning of a planned 80-mile Coast-to-Crest trail is emerging as a boardwalk north of the San Dieguito River at the Jimmy Durante Bridge in Del Mar. Board member and photographer Stu Smith has captured some construction photos for your viewing and to encourage your interest in the next steps! (These photos were taken in early December 2006.)

The planned San Dieguito River Park Coast-to-Crest trail begins at this juncture and will stretch eastward on the north side of the River all the way to Volcan Mountain near Julian. About one-third of the 80-mile multi-use trails for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders are already in place and open to the public. The boardwalk section of the trail will be available to pedestrians only.

The boardwalk will add 1400 feet to the River Park’s trails, and it will eventually connect with the planned trail going east along the northern edge of the Wetland Restoration Project. When completed this spring it will also connect to Riverpath Del Mar to the west across Jimmy Durante Boulevard. Riverpath is a “small haven where pedestrians can watch birds and leaping fish; enjoy a picnic, and follow the footpath along the San Dieguito River toward (but not to) the beach.”

In February the Del Mar Rotary Club will sponsor a campaign to finance and install deck boards on the boardwalk sub-structure. The 22nd Agricultural District and River Park Conservancy will install the nearby landscaping.

Excellent information about the River Park's trail systems can be found at the Park's website: or by calling (858) 674-2270. The Activities & Events link often includes guided hikes in the Park.






The San Diego Polo Club's application to use a public trail in the San Dieguito River Valley as an exercise track for their polo horses has been closed by the City of San Diego, and the issue of illegal grading referred back to City's Neighborhood Code Compliance Division.

The City stated their concern in a May 29, 2007 letter to the Club:

"Staff is not in support of a horse exercise trail in the present location. Staff will support a multi-use public trail with a horse exercise trail separated from the public uses but cannot commit to supporting the trail in its present location as environmental impacts caused by the illegal grading ...have not been determined at this time."

Major issues noted were:

Biological Impacts - The illegally graded track is within the wetlands and flood plain and is subject to the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Regulations. A new (since the original approval for the Polo Fields did not include any plans for grading) California Environmental Quality Act document is required.

Trail Use and Location - The trail must be a public multi-use trail designed to City Trail Standards. The current disking operation across the entire width of the trail does not meet these Standards and is not acceptable. The disking for a horse exercise track to prevent injury to horses makes the public trail difficult to navigate for hiking or bicycling and may be causing indirect impacts to the wetland habitat.


Polo track outside lease boundary (red flags)

A Civil Penalty Notice and Order was served on the Polo Club, located at 14555 El Camino Real, June 9, 2005. At that time the Club was notified that the property was in violation of the San Diego Municipal Code and subject to civil penaties because of the grading adjacent to protected wetlands and outside the leasehold property line for the Polo Fields.

A hearing was conducted and on December 23, 2005 the hearing officer ordered the Polo Club to "immediately cease surface grubbing and grading at the property." And further, that on or before February 28, 2006 the Polo Club shall "...submit a completed application for a...grading permit for the restoration of all grading at the horse exercise trail...(to) include plans for the restoration of vegetation in the areas identified..." or "Respondent shall make application for a grading permit and a site development permit to developt the horse exercise trail in the area referenced.."

Polo track next to river

The Polo Club submitted an application that was considered incomplete due to failure to submit plans that would separate the exercise trail from the public multi-use trail and failure to address biological impacts caused by illegal grading in the wetlands. The City extended the deadline of Feb. 28 at least twice.

The property leased by the Polo Club is public land, deeded to the City of San Diego in 1983 to mitigate for development in the River Valley that exceeded the allowed uses. The designated public trail is part of a 55-mile long San Dieguito River Park that begins at the beach in Del Mar and ends at Vulcan Mountain near Julian. In 1986 the City Council approved a lease with the Polo Club with the understanding that only polo related activities would be allowed on the property and that the public would have access to the property when polo was not scheduled. The lease specifically excluded from the leasehold, and use, a designated public trail running along the southern border of the property and the northern riverbank. In about 2003 neighbors began complaining to the City regarding the many non-polo related activities being held at the property, the noise and traffic, and the Friends hired an attorney to communicate our concerns regarding the lease violations. The lease expires in 2012.

Ann Gardner 8/7/07


JUNE 2007

FSDRV President's Letter

Dear Friends,

The good news of 2007 is that after so many years of effort the Restoration of the San Dieguito Lagoon is finally underway! 

The Friends of the San Diego River Valley decided to start an educational outreach program: a Bus Tour of the San Dieguito Lagoon.  Del Mar Community Connection allow us to use their colorful bus and once a month we take 25 people on a 10 miles circuit around the Lagoon.  The Tour is very successful and people make reservations two months in advance.

Meanwhile we continue to monitor projects that are planned in the valley.  Following are our current major concerns:

* We monitor the Del Mar Fairgrounds Master Plan for its environmental impact;

* We seek to return the Fairgrounds South Parking lot to permanent wetland status;

* We support a reduced Flower Hill shopping center expansion project;

* We support plans for the widening of Via De La Valle and El  Camino Real Bridge  that will facilitate traffic flow without jeopardizing the valley's rural nature;

* We advocate returning to public use the Coast-to-Crest trail segment south of the Polo Fields; 

* We favor a reduction of units planned in a Pardee residential project on the north side of Via De La Valle; 

* We maintain the Grand Avenue site year-around with the City of Del Mar participation.

Your contribution will help us cover our expenses: the Bus tour, publishing pamphlets, distributing information, maintaining our mail-box, website and other public outreach activities.  Because we are an advocacy group, contributions are not tax deductible.

Contributors of $ 100.00 or more will receive a copy of the “Walk in the Park” DVD , a short documentary film describing  the Park's landscapes and wild life habitats.

We are grateful for your support,

Jacqueline Winterer, President





Starting January 13, 2007 and repeating one Saturday of each month, the Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley will offer free bus tours around the San Dieguito Lagoon to interested citizens.  Emphasis will be on the history of the area and the progress of the restoration project.

Remaining tours in 2007 are scheduled for:

  August (none)

  September 15

  October 13

  November 10

Tour times are 9:00 am and 11:00 am, and last approximately 1.5 hours. 

Location: The Bus Tour will leave from and return to the Parking Lot south of Del Mar City Hall at 1050 Camino Del Mar in Del Mar.

Participants will travel with a guide via mini-bus on the roads around the western end of the river valley, and make six stops at viewpoints of interest. 

Seating is limited and reservations must be made in advance. Call (858) 674-2275, extension 14 for more information and reservations for your preferred schedule. The January event filled very quickly and was a great success.

A 12 page description of the Lagoon restoration will be loaned to participants for the duration of the tour and will be collected at the end for use with the next busload,  or can be downloaded here:

Bus tour of the SDRV Lagoon Restoration - Report 3 (PDF, 5Mbytes)