The 22nd District Agricultural Association, the state agency that runs the fairgrounds, agreed to take several steps to settle the court action filed in May 2011 by the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority.
The litigation challenged the plan’s environmental impact report.
“We’ve got a better master plan now with reduced environmental impacts and it allows us to focus on the core projects,” association board President Adam Day said.
“An electronic reader board on I-5 will not be built and that will be eliminated,” Day said. “The district will not approve any future hotel for at least five years. The district agrees to increase traffic controls at the Solana Gate. We will also consider relocating the proposed parking structure.”
A traffic signal might be installed at the Solana Gate, the side entrance off Via de la Valle.
The sprawling park is home to the annual San Diego County Fair, thoroughbred horse racing, horse shows, an off-track wagering facility and numerous trade shows.
Day said the settlement will allow the fairgrounds’ operator to move ahead with renovating old exhibit halls and study the facility’s impact on neighboring cities.
“The buildings were built 70 years ago. They don’t have heating or air conditioning and the plumbing is sketchy if you will,” said Linda Zweig, spokeswoman for the Del Mar Fair.
Each year the fair holds some 300 events and pumps an estimated $450 million into the region. Fair officials said renovations will clear the way for more opportunities.
“We employ up to 5,000 people annually including fair time and it means more money into the area,” said Zweig. “If we were able to rebuild and make them bigger and more efficient, we’d be able to get more events.”
The parties announced last week that they reached a final agreement to settle the litigation, but did not release details at that time.
“Bottom line, this agreement is a win, win, win situation,” said Day.