When it comes to new construction, things move a little slower in the laid-back city of San Diego. The latest example comes to us from our own backyard – the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The long-awaited plans for a small concert venue at the Del Mar Fairgrounds were finally approved this past May. To little surprise, those plans may already be in jeopardy. The development in question is a 1,900 seat concert venue at the site of the Surfside Race Place.
Current Facility and Proposed Redevelopment
The current facility was built a little over 20 years ago as a sports bar and lounge where visitors could watch the races and bet at an off-track site. The stated capacity is 5,000, however, especially in recent years, this number is rarely even approached. Sensing an opportunity to approve attendance and make better use of the space, the 22nd District Agricultural Association (owner of the Del Mar Fairgrounds) unanimously approved the proposed $13 million dollar renovation.
The project currently has a planned completion date of May 1, 2018. All redevelopment would take place within the current facility with no expansion and little change to the building’s exterior. Construction would include a two-story concert venue and 7,000 square-foot beer tasting area.
However, with change comes opposition. According to NBC San Diego, Del Mar Mayor Terry Sinnott, Solana Beach City Councilmember Jewel Edson, and a number of residents have voiced their objections. Among their concerns are traffic, noise pollution, and overall negative community impact. The concerns are valid, with an additional 90 annual events to take place if they receive approval. In an attempt to halt the project, the city of Solana Beach filed a civil complaint in the Superior Court. The complaint required that the DAA provides proper environmental review before the approval.
Director of the 22nd DAA, David Watson, attempted to address concerns by stating that adding the venue to a place that already hosts events on a much larger scale would simply be a “blip on the radar”. He also mentions that with a capacity of 5,000 at the current facility, a concert venue less than half that size would have little to no effect on traffic.
Once again, both sides wait for a decision.