As part of the ongoing restoration of the San Dieguito Lagoon the time has come to restore the South Overflow Lot at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to its natural (or as natural as feasible) state.
Bisecting this site is a boardwalk. While supporters of this boardwalk are well intentioned, the original Coastal Development Permit considered the future restoration project in issuing the placement of the boardwalk as an interim location until restoration takes place. It was a Special Condition granted temporarily until the restoration work started.
There has been much misinformation about the relocation of the boardwalk. Claims have been made that the boardwalk will not be relocated, yet it is stated in the original Coastal Development Permit that it will be moved to the periphery of the restoration area. The relocation of the boardwalk is the fiscal responsibility of the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA).
While the environmentally sensitive habitat areas are currently disturbed, restoration can only take place if the area is returned to a natural state.
The boardwalk splits the area most in need of restoration and should be moved to the inland edge of the restoration site to assure the restoration is effective.
The importance of preserving and restoring as much environmentally sensitive habitats as possible must be a priority before it is all gone.
While there may be a push to support the present location of the boardwalk the Coastal Act (the California Coastal Act is the one that assures you access to the beach, sand on the beach, protection of sensitive habitats and coastal views to enjoy) does not support permanent placement of the boardwalk in an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA).
Disappointed by building heights
Many residents are disappointed by the vote at the March 18 Carlsbad Planning Commission Meeting that recommends to the City Council an amendment to allow taller buildings in Carlsbad. Two hotels have requested permission to add a 4th floor (the Carlsbad standard is three floors) in a building with a 45-foot height (a height approval is also needed). By offering ocean view rooms on the fourth floor, the two hotel chains stated that they would then be able to obtain more revenue from these rooms.
We hope, when the final vote goes before the City Council, that the Council Members advocate for the residents of Carlsbad, not for the profit of the hotels. We hope they will uphold the scenic and uncluttered beauty of our city and Envision Carlsbad’s defining attribute, “small-town feel of our beach-side community,” for all residents and visitors to Carlsbad.
With this amendment, Carlsbad will have FOUR floors of bright lights at night instead of three; thus, the resort will appear much larger and more noticeable than any other hotel in Carlsbad.
The residents were well served when Commissioner Scully (who cast the lone vote against the amendment) rightfully pointed out that, without the amendment, the two hotels can still build a beautiful quality hotel within three floors as all the other hotels in Carlsbad have done.
Now, with the approved additional floor, the resort will obviously impact the countryside.
At the meeting, the hotels claimed that four floors “will give more open space”. Regardless, the resort will be larger.
The argument of “more open space” could support requests to add floors to any commercial building in the city. Thank goodness, the buildings in Carlsbad are only three stories, wider rather than higher and thus less obtrusive.
Thank you Carlsbad Council for generally, in the past, not approving more floors, more lights, more obstruction of the panoramic views.
Each Commissioner mentioned a concern for setting a bad precedent, yet five Commissioners voted for the precedent-setting amendment. Other hotels (and commercial developers) will justifiably say that, if the Commission granted approval to these two hotels, then they too want to “improve their amenities” and gain “a view of the ocean” with more floors. They will capitalize on this new amendment and could rightfully call it favoritism to specific hotel chains if they too don’t get amendments to achieve “better resort amenities.” In fact, at the meeting on March 18, the hotel management company also pointed out a precedent that was set years ago. These two hotel chains want similar treatment given to another hotel in Aviara that exceeds the standard height and number of floors. When will it stop? It won’t.
The Commissioners frequently said that they will be more vigilant in the future about more floors in tall buildings — why not now?
The fight for the residents isn’t over. Only the Planning Commission voted to approve the additional floor within the additional height.
It still needs to be approved by the Council Members who must continue to stand firm against the push for taller buildings…. that have more floors to light up the sky.