SOLANA BEACH — The draft environmental document outlining a use policy for Fletcher Cove Community Center is now available for a 90-day public review and comment period. Even before renovation of the former Army barracks was complete in 2011, many residents, including those who contributed financially to the project, asked about using the bluff-top facility for private events such as birthday parties and receptions.
Citing traffic, noise and parking issues, those who live in the adjacent neighborhoods oppose any events beyond those that already take place at the facility, such as summer camps, the Civic and Historical Society’s annual fundraising bazaar, a few community classes and Thursday night singalongs.
They also do not support alcohol consumption on the property.
The groups and city staff held meetings to try to reach a compromise. In September, City Council members, with Mike Nichols dissenting, authorized $25,000 for a California Environmental Quality Act study to analyze potential impacts of the added uses.
The results of that study were posted on the city website Nov. 29. The report is also available at City Hall.
CEQA requires a minimum 30-day review period. Staff recommended 60 days but with the upcoming holidays, Nichols suggested extending the deadline, and his colleagues agreed to an additional 30 days.
The analysis used conditions presented to Council during an April meeting. Based on community and Council input from several meetings and written correspondence, staff developed regulations for a one-year trial period that limits events to a maximum of 100 people.
The center could only be used for private gatherings until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with all cleaning complete by 10:30 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Sundays including cleanup.
Live music would be allowed but with a limited number of band members and instruments. Alcohol, limited to beer and wine for guests 21 and older, could not be sold onsite.
Only two, nonconsecutive functions could be held between Friday and Sunday, meaning there could not be an event Friday and Saturday.
Valet parking or shuttles will be required if more than 50 attendees are expected at any given event. Hosts must also hire security guards if alcohol is being served or more than 50 people are expected.
The city will provide a list of prequalified security firms whose guards have been trained on facility rules. Guards will be responsible for monitoring parking, alcohol use and noise.
Priority will go to all existing activities and groups. Private use of the facility will not be allowed until the westside improvements at the intersection of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Coast Highway 101 are complete, most likely in May.
City Manager David Ott said about $30,000 has been spent on a use policy for the center. Nichols said he hopes the city can recoup some of those costs when it sets the rental fees.
Once the review period is closed, staff will respond to comments and present the policy to City Council for a public hearing no earlier than the March 13 meeting.
Council members can then certify and adopt the policy, choose not to proceed or ask staff to study any other issues that may come up.
“We need to get some action going one way or the other on this,” Councilman Dave Roberts said.
Written comments should be submitted by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 to Wendé Protzman via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to (858) 792-6513 or by mail to City of Solana Beach, Attention: Wendé Protzman, Community Development Director, 635 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075.