Citizen input sought on I-5 expansion draft EIR

DEL MAR — Although Del Mar will comment on an environmental impact report for the proposed expansion of Interstate 5, the city has little money, if any, to do so and certainly nowhere near the $85,000 adjacent Solana Beach allocated to hire a consultant to help review the document.
So with council members in recess until Sept. 13 — about three weeks before the comment deadline — Planning Manager Adam Birnbaum is reviewing the document while staff is recruiting volunteers and trying to resurrect a 12-member citizens committee that provided input last year for the Del Mar Fairgrounds expansion draft EIR.
Councilman Carl Hilliard, a council liaison for the fairgrounds project, said committee members may be hesitant to reconvene without help and guidance from the city attorney, which they previously had, but he is hopeful at least some will be willing to again share their expertise.
Meanwhile, the city manager is seeking ways to partner with other cities such as Solana Beach to share information, and the city attorney is putting together a cost estimate if her services are needed.
Caltrans is proposing to expand a 27-mile stretch of I-5 from La Jolla Village Drive to Harbor Drive in Oceanside. The project will have a major impact on at least six communities, but unlike most, it will not run through the center of Del Mar.
“Our jurisdiction stops far to the west of the actual corridor, so we aren’t as directly impacted, but there are resources that we care about that will be,” Councilwoman Crystal Crawford said.
“So we need to figure out what position we, as a community, want to take on these issues and how we’re best going to weigh in on that in a way that we frankly can afford,” she said.
Following a presentation at the Aug. 2 meeting by Allan Kosup from Caltrans, the lead agency for the proposed expansion, Crawford said she needs more information before taking a position.
She reminded her colleagues that City Council opposed the Interstate 5/805 interchange in the late 1990s, a project that has helped congestion in Del Mar, especially along the Coast Highway.
Caltrans is holding a series of public workshops to provide and receive input on the approximately
$4 million project. One will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 at Skyline Elementary School, 606 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
The Solana Beach Clean and Green Committee has also scheduled an informational meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19 at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, 120 Stevens Ave.
That will include short presentations about the air pollution, noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and visual blight, as well as information from environmental attorneys and alternative ways to improve transportation.

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