City seeks to close La Jolla’s Children’s Pool during seal pup season
La Jolla Parks and Beaches group meets to debate closure
By Ashley Mackin
At its April 22 meeting, the La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee (LJP&B), discussed a report from the City of San Diego that requests amendments to the La Jolla Community Plan, the Local Coastal Program, the Community Plan, and the Coastal Development Permit and Municipal Code, that would close Children’s Pool beach entirely during pupping season, December to May, each year.
The Draft Negative Declaration of an Environmental Impact Report would reclassify Children’s Pool beach from a public beach to an “environmentally sensitive habitat area.” The declaration states that implementation of the habitat plan at Children’s Pool requires installing two signs on an existing wall and gate, as well as a chain barrier at the second landing of the lower stairs.
The amendment to the San Diego Municipal Code would read: “It is unlawful for any person to be upon, or cause any person to be upon, the beach of La Jolla Children’s Pool, starting from the lower stairs to the beach, beginning with the second landing, from Dec. 15 to May 15.”
The initial study, conducted by the city, found the project would not have a significant effect on the environment. As a result, the city does not need to write an environmental impact report, and the declaration can be adopted as is, depending on the community input received.
The public comment period ends May 20, (see box above ) and those interested in offering their feedback can find the notice and report at sandiego.gov/city-clerk/officialdocs/notices with a search for Project No. 225045.
The Children’s Pool beach is currently closed at night until May 15 (the official end of pupping season) and there is also a year-round rope to encourage humans to stay a safe distance from the seals on the beach. Though it is legal to cross that rope, beach-goers must adhere to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which dictates that humans keep at least 50 yards from pregnant and nursing seals and pups.
Comments both for and against the declaration and subsequent beach closure were made during the meeting with LJP&B Chair Dan Allen assuring that each person had his or her say.
LJP&B member Jane Reldan, a strong advocate for closing the beach, read her prepared statement to the group. “The closure of Casa Beach meets all of the requirements of the Coastal Act and has a positive impact on the environment and the protection of coastal resources,” Reldan said.
One of many against the closure, Rebecca Morales said, “The pool was constructed for the use of children … there are very few places in the world where we find this kind of enclosure. We have an international gem here … there are places where we already have marine life sanctuaries.”
Morales added that people have lost sight of the intended use of Children’s Pool, to which LJP&B member Phyllis Minnick replied, “We haven’t lost sight, it was taken away from us.”
What do you think?
To comment on the Environmental Impact Report Draft Negative Declaration (which would close Children’s Pool beach entirely during pupping season):
■ Mail: Anna McPherson, Environmental Planner, San Diego Development Services Center, 1222 First Ave., MS 501, San Diego, CA 92101
■ E-mail: DSDEAS@sandiego.gov (put Project No. 225045 in the subject line)
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