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Council Panel Urges End to Lease of Land for Fair Parking

June 09, 1987|NANCY RAY | Times Staff Writer

A San Diego City Council committee--worried about potential environmental harm--recommended Monday that the city stop the Del Mar Fair Board from using 22 acres of city-owned land for overflow parking for the fairgrounds.

The 4-0 decision by the city's Transportation and Land Use Committee specifically advises the full City Council--which will review the matter in two or three weeks--to cancel the lease on the property in six months.

The land, which lies in the San Dieguito River Valley, is part of a 225-acre area proposed by the state Coastal Conservancy as a park around San Dieguito Lagoon.

Trish Butler, planning director for the 22nd Agricultural Assn., which operates the state-owned fairgrounds, protested the committee's action to cancel the lease. She noted that a $50,000 beautification project along Jimmy Durante Boulevard has been completed by the Fair Board as part of the land-lease requirements.

Butler asked committee members to delay action on canceling the lease until the lagoon-enhancement plan is completed and financing for the plan is identified.

Councilman Mike Gotch objected to such a delay, commenting that the city "does not want to be a party to allowing overflow parking on this environmentally sensitive property."

He suggested that fairgrounds officials "should curb a rather ambitious appetite" to expand their facilities to accommodate larger crowds at the annual county fair and during the 42-day thoroughbred racing schedule at the Del Mar Race Track.

Fair Manager Roger Vitaich said he will have no comment on the matter until his board of directors studies the cancellation's impact on expansion plans.

The city-owned tract, which has been leased by the Fair Board for three years, is the site proposed for a seasonal pontoon bridge that would open land south of the San Dieguito River to parking during the summer months when the fair and the racing occur.

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