La Jolla seal debate goes back to court on Thursday

A gull flies over harbor seal at the Children's Pool.  Photo: File/Kathy Day
A gull flies over harbor seal at the Children's Pool. Photo: File/Kathy Day

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

The legal challenge to the Planning Commission’s decision that the rope barrier at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool be removed will be back in court Thursday.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) will be in Judge Lisa Foster’s courtroom at 8:30 a.m. in its continuing efforts to keep the rope barrier up. The hearing will be in Dept. 60 of the San Diego Superior Court, 330 W. Broadway St.

APRL attorney Bryan Pease has been lobbying for the rope barrier to be in place year-round and not just during the marine mammals’ Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season.

He contends that it was never the legislative intent of the City Council to allow an inferior body — the Planning Commission — to overrule it.

Pease states in a press release that he has signed declarations from four of the city council members who for the guideline rope to protect the La Jolla seal rookery. The release also states he has “new evidence of harassment” since Foster ordered the rope’s removal on June 3.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has defended the Planning Commission's veto ropeline, taking the position that the rope is an "intrusion of development into environmentally sensitive lands."

According to Pease, Congresswoman Susan Davis has submitted an amicus letter to the court indicating she believes “the Marine Mammal Protection Act preempts decisions interfering with the City Council's management plan that was approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service.”

   
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