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Posted on: November 2, 2020

Public comment opens for La Atalaya environmental document

Historic photo of La Atalaya entrance

An environmental document that examines reconfiguring eight existing lots into eight new lots through a series of lot line adjustments on 18 acres known as La Atayala has opened for public comment through 5 p.m. Nov. 30.

The Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration includes a proposed subdivision map for the property east of Zapo Street, north of Serpentine Drive and south of San Dieguito Drive. 

Hemmed in by a solid, concrete-and-plaster wall known locally as Snake Wall, the property spreads across west- and north-facing slopes from a high ridge to sea level near the San Dieguito Lagoon.

“La Atalaya” is Spanish for “high place.” 

Prepared by RECON Environmental, Inc., the 817-page environmental document includes evaluations of the property's habitat types, geology and cultural resources. A hard copy of the Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration is available for review at the Del Mar Library.

The document includes a historic evaluation that explores urban legends surrounding the name Snake Wall. One account suggests Snake Wall was so named after a caretaker’s son was bitten by a rattlesnake. A more popular story posits that the wall was built to provide a sense of security to a former owner’s daughter, Valentine Burnett, who was afraid of snakes.

Staff contact: Jennifer Gavin, Associate Planner, 858-755-9313 or

Open Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration

Open La Atalaya Mitigated Negative Declaration (PDF)

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