SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to continue discussions with state officials about forming a partnership to manage the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
"We're not in a position to approve something with any finality today, but rather to continue a process we embarked upon last fall," Supervisor Ron Roberts said.
Roberts and board chairman Greg Cox suggested talks with the 22nd District Agricultural Association in October. The idea is to give the county more control over events at the fairgrounds.
Adam Day, the head of 22nd District Agricultural Association, said the organization has budget of $90 million per year and operates without the use of tax dollars.
"The county will have zero financial or legal risk. and the communities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and other impacted and interested neighbors will have an increased voice in our operations," Day said. "And the millions of visitors that enjoy our facilities will continue to do so seamlessly."*
If an agreement is approved, the state would remain the owner of the roughly 240 acres that make up the fairgrounds, and day-to-day operations would be virtually unchanged, according to Thomas Montgomery, a lawyer for the county.
The Del Mar Race Track would continue to be operated by the State Track Leasing Commission and the Del Mar Track Authority, according to the county.
A joint powers authority would oversee the fairground's operations and maintenance and would be subject to county rules and regulations, Montgomery said.
The proposed joint powers authority would have a governing board with nine state-appointed members and one representative appointed by each of the county's five supervisors.
"These dramatic changes will provide a positive boost of confidence to the people of San Diego County and beyond that the fairgrounds truly belong to all the people of San Diego County," Day said.
A handful of elected officials urged the board to engage surrounding cities such as Del Mar, Solana Beach and San Diego.
"We know that this is a regional asset. It cannot be denied that those jurisdictions right around there do experience more traffic, more noise, more light pollution and especially drains on our public safety services," Solana Beach City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said.
In 1904, the state organized agricultural districts for the purpose of putting on fairs.