Court Declines to Consider Sierra Club’s Request for Preliminary Injunction
Del Mar CA – A second attempt by the Sierra Club to enjoin Del Mar Fairgrounds activities approved by the Coastal Commission has been declined by San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal. The ruling took place on July 25, in San Diego Superior Court. In addition, Judge Bacal granted the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA)’s motion to transfer the Sierra Club lawsuit to Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Sierra Club is seeking a court order to halt activity permitted under two coastal development permits (CDPs) for the Del Mar Fairgrounds approved by the California Coastal Commission (Commission) in November of 2013. The permits allow various activities at the Fairgrounds, including the fall race meet scheduled for later this year.
The Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against the Commission and the 22nd District Agricultural Association (22nd DAA) challenging the Commission’s issuance of the CDPs.
The CDPs in question are the result of the historic Consent Cease and Desist and Restoration Orders (Orders) signed by the Commission and the 22nd DAA in early 2012. The Orders resolved longstanding Coastal Act issues between the two agencies regarding use of the Fairgrounds property and provided the groundwork for the 22nd DAA to comply with the Coastal Act, including the recently approved CDPs. The permits authorize a second thoroughbred horse racing meet in the fall, as well as permanent non-Fair/Race time uses and parking on the East Overflow Lot, overflow parking on the Golf Driving Range, and other non-Fair/Race time events on the main Fairgrounds property. The Commission’s approval of the CDPs also triggers a $5 million restoration of the remaining portion of the South Overflow Lot (SOL), approximately 9.5 acres, to fully functioning wetlands.
The Coastal Commission and 22nd DAA have a statutory right under state law to have this matter heard outside of San Diego County. Recognizing this mandatory right, the court transferred the case to Superior Court in Los Angeles. Not wanting to “tie the hands” of the judge who will ultimately hear the merits of the case, the court refused to hear Sierra Club’s motion for preliminary injunction.
About the Del Mar Fairgrounds
The 22nd District Agricultural Association is a State of California agency that owns and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Surfside Race Place, Horsepark Equestrian Center and the Del Mar Golf Center. The 22nd DAA produces four events each year including: The San Diego County Fair, the largest annual event in San Diego County and one of the top 10 Fairs in the United States and Canada, drawing more than 1.4 million visitors annually. The 22nd DAA also produces: The Del Mar National Horse Show, Professional Bull Riding (PBR) and The Scream Zone. The Fairgrounds hosts more than 350 events annually, the largest of which is the live horse racing meet each summer and fall, which is operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the 22nd DAA and the State of California. For more information on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, visit www.delmarfairgrounds.com.