by Jacqueline Winterer
In a tie vote on March 11 the California Coastal Commission recommended that the San Dieguito Lagoon Boardwalk be removed and relocated at the northern edge of the lot, along Jimmy Durante Boulevard because it caused the loss of one acre of wetland and disturbed the wildlife. The figure above shows the Commission recommendation.
The Boardwalk south east of the Fairgrounds, along the San Dieguito River was built with various grants worth $ 500,000 and through the efforts of members of the Del Mar Rotary Club who helped build it. The Boardwalk has become very popular with members of the public who enjoy walking along the river watching birds, ducks drifting along the river and occasional fish jumping out of the water. Earlier action from the Coastal Commission had determined that the Boardwalk was an interim use.
The San Dieguito River Valley Joint Powers authority sought to modify the permit for wetland restoration and retain the 1,200-ft long Boardwalk in its present location. Twelve people spoke and twelve hundred people signed a petition urging the Commission to keep the Boardwalk.
San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox was a passionate advocate of the preservation of the Boardwalk and gave greater value to the educational and recreational value of the experience of being in the middle of the wetland. Commissioner Dayna Bochco, San Francisco environmentalist, gave greater value to the preservation of the maximum of wetland at the cost of losing the Boardwalk.
As only 10 members of the Commission were present the Commission was evenly divided between those two positions. The 5/5 vote failed to grant the JPA’s request. An attempt was made by some commissioners to offer a compromise which would compensate the loss of the 1 acre of wetland with the acquisition of 4 acres of wetland elsewhere. That motion failed as well.
This decision may be appealed if 4 acres of wetland were to be found elsewhere as well as the money to buy them. Hope springs eternal.
This article is posted courtesy Del Mar Sandpiper. March 20, 2015