Stricter regulations for coastal fireworks may not apply to La Jolla

Fireworks went on in 2010 despite a lawsuit. Photo: Brittany Comunale

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

The show can — and likely will — go on again this year for the annual Independence Day Fireworks display at La Jolla Cove.

One major impediment imperiling the show, put on for the past two years by the nonprofit La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation, may have been cleared by a recent revision of a tentative order from the San Diego Water Quality Control Board.

Even as they await the final decision, the foundation on Friday began tackling another obstacle — raising the funds to put the show on. Deborah Marengo, who heads the group, said all systems are go to launch another communitywide drive to pay for the event again this year. But she added this year’s display will be scaled back.

“Last year it cost about $40,000 but we had a bigger event with the Marine Corps Band and all the staging and lighting and audio that went along with it,” she said, noting this year’s more-manageable event will likely cost about $25,000.

“That’s what we need to raise and this year I’m setting a June 1 deadline,” Marengo said. “If we don’t have all the money secured by that point, I will most likely be canceling the show.”

On Friday, she e-mailed past supporters asking them to participate again. In an interview, she said she was hopeful those who say they will contribute will follow through with donations, which some did not do last year.

The 2010 Fourth of July event, the community’s 26th, was nearly stopped in its tracks when a lawsuit was filed over the permitting requirements.

Originally, the water quality board had proposed increasing permitting requirements and monitoring costs for coastal fireworks displays, in apparent response to the lawsuit. But the board’s revision now calls for exempting small displays, like La Jolla’s, from tighter regulation. It will be considered again on May 11. The board meeting begins at 9 a.m. the regional office at 9174 Sky Park Court in Kearny Mesa.

“The original version of the tentative order would have required that any group doing fireworks be required to do monitoring of both water and sediment,” wrote Clif Williams, land use analyst for the law firm of Latham & Watkins, which has been representing the fireworks foundation.

In an e-mail to the Light, he also stated: “This would have made the show cost prohibitive, because the monitoring would have cost upwards of $50,000 while the show costs less than $30,000 to put on.”

Williams said the revised and final tentative order will only apply to the monitoring requirements to shows that shoot fireworks with a net explosives weight of more than 1,000 pounds.

“We estimate that the La Jolla show is a little less than 400 pounds,” Williams said, adding the revised permit will affect big shows like SeaWorld and the Big Bay Show, which were already required to do it.

Attorney Marco Gonzalez of the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), an environmental group dedicated to protecting coastal natural resources, has been lobbying for stricter regulation of fireworks over water. He argues caution should be exercised given that not enough is known or understood about the impact of fireworks on the environment.

Gonzalez filed the 2010 lawsuit against the city of San Diego and the La Jolla fireworks foundation, insisting they failed to comply with CEQA and other environmental laws in conducting fireworks shows over water. Last June, just days before July 4th, a San Diego judge rejected CERF’s request to halt the event.

Regarding the recent revision water quality control board’s rules, Gonzalez e-mailed, “I have nothing to say about the current draft of the Regional Board’s fireworks permit. I’ll be more than happy to discuss it when we’re closer to the hearing date. There’s nothing newsworthy about it at this point.”

To contribute to the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation fund go to www.lajollafireworks.org.

Related posts:

  1. Fourth of July fundraising begins; fireworks still challenged
  2. Newest UCSD campus apartments immerse students in sustainability
  3. Advisory boards adjusting to new business group
  4. Thomas DeBlois opens psychiatry practice in La Jolla
  5. As Promote La Jolla settlement nears, new group taking shape

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=39213

Posted by Dave Schwab on Apr 12, 2011. 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

  • Local camp shapes Solana Beach youth into community leaders July 28, 2014
    After attending the inaugural La Colonia de Eden Gardens Youth Leadership Camp last year, Edgar Vergara was inspired to make positive change in Solana Beach’s Eden Gardens community. Along with other local teens, the 15-year-old co-founded the youth group La Colonia Changers and recently hosted a town hall forum on underage drinking. Passionate about making […]
  • Del Mar Union School District approves new contract for superintendent July 28, 2014
    The Del Mar Union School District Board July 23 approved the new contract for Superintendent Holly McClurg through June 30, 2018. Per the contract, McClurg’s annual salary will be $185,000 with an annual doctoral stipend of $10,000. She will receive a car allowance of $400 a month, 25 vacation days, health benefits and a retirement contribution of $700 a mon […]
  • Carmel Valley 5K and 10K to hit Gonzales Canyon trails in September July 28, 2014
    A new trail running race is coming to Carmel Valley this fall. Jeff Stoner of Del Mar’s Seasick Marketing visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board to update the board on the plans for the Carmel Valley Trail 5K and 10K Run, set to take place on Sept. 20. A portion of race proceeds will go toward the Challenged Athletes Foundation. […]