The San Diego mayoral race wasn’t the only special election on February 11. The majority of Solana Beach voters passed Proposition B — an initiative brought to the ballot box by citizens. It asked voters to repeal the city’s restrictive regulations regarding the usage of the new Fletcher Cove Community Center.
By a margin of 127 votes, residents threw out those regulations.
Several years ago, the city raised $250,000 in funds — public tax dollars and private donations — to rebuild the 1940s-era Quonset hut that was the Fletcher Cove Community Center. Located at 133 Pacific Avenue, perched upon the ocean-view bluff above Fletcher Cove Beach Park, the new community center is a city gem.
Once reopened, the neighborhood around the acre-sized property claimed parties at the center would increase traffic, noise, and trash. The city council backed the neighborhood’s voters, who live in the multimillion-dollar bluff-top homes. In October of 2013, the council passed regulations that restrict most gatherings.
To fight back, citizens in other parts of town gathered enough signatures for a ballot initiative that would eliminate most of the restrictive regulations. The council could have adopted the initiative as law; it chose not to. State law then required the initiative be put to a vote of the citizens.
It cost the city about $200,000 to be included in the February 11 special election — $60.37 per vote cast.
Some of the restrictive regulations were: a maximum of 50 attendees, no amplified music or drums, hiring of a private security guard who is a “trained” host — one who must take a class with the city to enforce the regulations. While beer and wine was allowed, no more than two drinks per person could be served, and only by a “trained” server, who was required to take a class offered by the city.
Although the center was advertised as available to rent Friday through Sunday, only one event could be permitted per weekend. Since the ordinance was adopted in October, only one permitted event had been held at the facility.
With the passage of Prop. B, residents may now rent the facility under the general regulations that were already on the books regarding city facilities: the center is available Friday though Sunday with payment of a $50 permit fee; maximum occupancies must be honored; noise levels mustn’t be exceeded; Alcohol Beverage Control regulations (under-age drinking and public drunkenness) must be adhered to; and law-enforcement agencies may shut down a party immediately for violation of any regulations.