City moves closer to installing year-round seal barrier at Children’s Pool

A year-round rope barrier may soon be installed at Children's Pool in La Jolla to separate the humans and seals. Photo: File

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Despite being unconvinced a rope barrier at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool needs to be up year-round, city of San Diego hearing officer Ken Teasley nonetheless ruled in favor Wednesday of granting Coastal Development and Site Development permits to do so.

“It’s a difficult decision but I can’t for the life of me find a reason to deny the permits,” said Teasley after 1 ½ hours of public testimony on extending the rope barrier dominated by longtime La Jollans and pro-beach access proponents, with representatives of the pro-seal camp conspicuously absent.

In rendering his decision, Teasley noted he felt conflicted. “It bothers me to approve a (extended) rope barrier when I don’t see that it serves any purpose … that you need it in terms of seal protection … It’s a hindrance to people using the beach,” he said.

A rope barrier has been up seasonally the past few years at the popular pool, created in the 1930s by La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps as a safe wading area for children. The barrier separates humans from seals during the marine mammal’s Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season.

Seal advocates have argued publicly and in court that the barrier needs to be up year-round to protect humans from encroaching on harbor seals, which are protected from harassment under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act passed in the 1970s.

Beach-access proponents have countered the rope barrier is unnecessary because a ranger is now in place at the pool, that it sends the wrong message that the pool is not open to public access and that it violates constitutional state law guaranteeing public access to coastal beaches.

One of many questions Teasley posed following public testimony was whether the pool rope barrier actually prohibited public access. “The term barrier is something of a misnomer,” answered city staffer Morris Dye. “One can step over or go under the rope, which also has an access opening. The rope is really a buffer between humans and seals to try and prevent harassing the seals from inadvertently happening.”

A host of La Jollans testified against year-round placement of Children’s Pool rope barrier in perpetuity, arguing it was unnecessary, even counterproductive.

“If you allow these (pool) permits it will make it impossible for the city to control its greatest treasure: it’s beaches,” argued diver John Leek.

“Children’s Pool has become polluted from seal feces and presents a public health hazard and putting the rope barrier up year-round will only make that worse,” said physician Richard Moreno.

Judy Klyver raised a different issue about the pool noting it is not ADA-accessible and should be.

La Jolla swimmer John Steel said “seals have overpopulated the beach,” noting it’s getting to the point where even they may not be able to use it.

Joe LaCava, president of La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), the local community advisory group on land-use issues, also testified, saying “Findings cannot be made for the permits or for a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) exemption.”

LaCava added there is a viable alternative to putting the seal rope up year-round: Letting the ranger program mature and develop as it was intended.

Reacting to the outcome of the hearing, longtime La Jollan Melinda Merryweather said, “I think he (Teasley) wanted to absolutely vote to not have the rope. … I don’t know. There’s some reason why the other side isn’t here.”

Related posts:

  1. Advisory group pleased with ranger at Children's Pool
  2. Hearing set for Wednesday on La Jolla seals rope barriers
  3. Pancake breakfast a sweet deal for community
  4. Hillel submits plan for smaller La Jolla center near UCSD
  5. Crime Report July 24-31

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=1609

Posted by Halie Johnson on Sep 15, 2010. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Del Mar couple to present program about Bhutan at Solana Beach Library September 1, 2014
    Join cultural anthropologist and photographer Roger Harmon and his wife, Nancy, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Solana Beach Library for a free presentation of their travels to Bhutan through slides and artifacts. […]
  • Carmel Valley Boy Scouts climb Mount Whitney September 1, 2014
    Several boys from Boy Scout Troop 765 (Carmel Valley) made the climb to the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states this summer. They spent the summer hiking the tallest peaks of Southern California, preparing for their hike of Mount Whitney. These peaks included Mount Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and Mount San Gorgonio. The boys made the 22-mile round-trip tr […]
  • Multimillion-dollar renovation complete at Hilton San Diego Del Mar September 1, 2014
    Hilton San Diego Del Mar announces the completion of its multimillion-dollar renovation. Funded by Wheelock Street Capital and Sage Hospitality, the hotel’s completed renovation includes the lobby, business center, fitness center, restaurant, meeting spaces and all 257 guest rooms. “This renovation has truly transformed the Hilton San Diego Del Mar property, […]