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Coastal Commission Accepts Del Mar Fair Board’s Environmental Concessions

The California Coastal Commission today accepted an agreement that ends more than a decade of environmental violations by the Del Mar Fair Board.

The 22nd Agricultural Association, which runs the Del Mar Fairgrounds, will give up about 1,500 parking spaces and restore the ground to wetland. It will construct a portion of the Coast to Crest Trail that runs along the edge of the property and restore the banks of the San Dieguito River.

All parties at the Coastal Commission meeting today were lavish with their praise of the agreement.

The mayor of Del Mar, Carl Hilliard, told the California Coastal Commission he hopes the deal ends more than a decade of environmental violations in the valley where the river meets the ocean.

“We hope that this may be a dawn of a new environmental stewardship for the fairgrounds, “ he said.

But Hilliard and several others said they were worried the Master Plan for the Del Mar Fairgrounds – long in the making - would conflict with the agreement not to commit future violations of the river valley.

In response to these concerns, Day told the Coastal Commission the Del Mar Fair Board has delayed submitting the Master Plan to the Race Track Leasing Commission for approval, in order to make sure it complies with the agreement.

Speaking on KPBS Midday Edition recently, Adam Day, president of the board that runs the fairgrounds, said the board has agreed to pay more than $5 million over the next five years to settle its dispute with the Coastal Commission.

“These issues have been going on for well over 10 years,” he said. “The environmental resources at the fairgrounds are significant and very, very important to all of the people of San Diego County: riparian habitat and coastal access. This agreement is truly historic .”

The Del Mar Fair Board includes several new members recently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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