Commentary: Challenges loom over Fletcher Cove

It’s a warm and beautiful summer day in Solana Beach and you have plans to take the family to Fletcher Cove to enjoy an afternoon at the beach. You prepare a picnic lunch; gather up the kids and head to the beach only to find that not a single parking space is available in the vicinity of Fletcher Cove. You head home with a carload of unhappy kids. You later learn that on that sunny day, a total of 100 people were attending a private party at the Fletcher Cove Community Center (FCCC) and, except for two handicapped spaces, the FCCC has no onsite parking.

If Proposition B is enacted in February, this scene will occur time and again every Saturday and Sunday because passage of Proposition B will allow private parties of up to 100 people on two days of every weekend at FCCC.

This means 60 additional automobiles will be competing with surfers, beach goers and shoppers for the already limited parking in the area.

Should private parties be allowed at the Community Center? Yes, but at a much lower intensity regarding frequency and number of attendees, which is reflected in the current compromise city policy already voted in place by the City Council. The city policy allows for one private party for up to 50 people on every other weekend.

Recently there have been editorials highlighting the findings included in a report, which was prepared by an outside legal firm to analyze the effect of the proposed FCCC initiative measure (Proposition B).

The report concludes that there are not expected to be adverse impacts to traffic and parking. Obviously in reaching its conclusion, the legal firm did not analyze the Brohard report, which is included in the public record and available at the city. The Brohard report, prepared by a licensed traffic engineer with over 40 years experience states that, “the expansion of use for the FCCC to allow up to 100 attendees twice per week will cause impacts on parking in the surrounding neighborhood and to the public parking lots.”

The Brohard report goes on further to conclude, “the evidence (contained in the environmental documents) cannot reach a conclusion of no significant impact on parking and also, there is a complete absence of any mitigation for the impacts on parking.”

The City Council at its meeting of Nov. 26, 2013 directed the city attorney to respond to the legal firm’s report findings. The city attorney’s letter to the report preparer states, “Contrary to conclusions in the report, there could be significant impacts if the initiative is adopted.”

In addition to parking impacts, the letter states that there could be significant fiscal impacts to the city in defending potential legal challenges to the initiative.

Finally, and of most importance, if the measure passes, the City Council is powerless to make any changes to the initiatives’ provisions without the cost of another city wide election. The cost of Proposition B, forced on voters by the initiatives’ sponsors, is estimated at $200,000.

Leave the Council’s policy in place. Vote no on Proposition B.

Richard Jacobs is a Solana Beach resident.

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