DEL MAR — Unable to stabilize a bank along the San Dieguito River that eroded and took out about 75 feet of the Coast-to-Crest Trail, the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority is proposing to build a bridge to reconnect the pathway.
On Jan. 7, following heavy rains, the bank collapsed and severed the trail west of the El Camino Real Bridge along the river at Del Mar Horse park.
The JPA sought to repair the damage, but according to a California Coastal Commission permit issued to the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which owns Horsepark, “no future channelization” such as berms, riprap, walls “or other substantial alteration … shall ever be constructed to protect the development from flooding or erosion.”
Kevin McKiernan, executive director for the River Park JPA, told board members at the Oct. 11 22nd DAA meeting a study conducted to find alternatives that would meet the permit requirements indicated there are few options.
Proposed scenarios, which ranged from $138,000 to $354,000, received “lukewarm response” from the Coastal Commission, McKiernan said.
The most viable and affordable solution, other than rerouting the trail onto Horsepark property, is installing a 6-foot-wide prefabricated bridge that could be extended to a maximum of 140 feet long for an estimated cost of $90,050.
The next steps include hiring a consultant to conduct a study to determine the necessary bridge footings, gaining approval from the 22nd DAA for the project and applying for a permit from the Coastal Commission, which the JPA would do.
The JPA also needs to find funding for the project. McKernan said he is hoping to partner with the 22nd DAA to help with that.
He had asked the board, which governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds, if the JPA could reroute the trail onto Horsepark because that is the easiest, least expensive alternative.
“They told us going onto their property is not a viable option,” McKiernan said.
The district bought the site in 1994 to accommodate overflow parking during events such as the county fair and summer horse races.
Having just lost about 1,250 spaces due to a requirement to convert another overflow lot back to wetlands, fair officials are now looking at Horsepark to supplement their parking needs.
In fact, last month the board agreed to reduce some of the boarding operations at the facility to accommodate more parking.
President Russ Penniman, who has been involved in Horsepark issues, and David Watson, a land use attorney, were not at the October meeting. Vice President Stephen Shewmaker deferred the discussion and potential decision until they are present, perhaps at the Nov. 15 meeting.
In other 22nd DAA news, General Manager Tim Fennell reported a 71 percent increase in attendance at KAABOO.
He described the three-day entertainment and arts festival that took place at the fairgrounds last month as successful but said “there’s improvements that can be made.”
He said noise complaints that plagued the event last year decreased. But this year, without the use of off-site parking and shuttles and a good plan for ride-hailing services, traffic was an issue, as was crowd control.
KAABOO organizers were expected to present a full report but that was rescheduled for the November meeting.
Fairgrounds staff also unveiled the logo for How the West Was Fun, the theme for the 2017 San Diego County Fair.