By Ashley Mackin
Landscape architect Jim Neri made a presentation to the La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJP&B) advisory committee Oct. 28 about two coastal projects — Goldfish Point erosion control and the final leg of the WindanSea “S-Curve” improvement.
The Goldfish Point erosion control plan underwent changes since the LJP&B committee approved the plan in November 2012, so Neri returned to explain the changes and get new board approval. Neri said the soil on the cliffs at Goldfish Point is eroding, so his plan will use two strategies to slow that process.
The original, and LJP&B-approved plan, called for the re-vegetation of the cliffs at Goldfish Point, with the plant roots holding onto the soil, and a post-and-link barrier defining the paths, so human access would not contribute to further erosion.
However, lifeguards fought the plan, saying they were uncomfortable with climbing over any barrier in the event of an emergency.
Neri reported that Jim Allen, Sunny Jim’s Cave Store owner and project originator, supported changing the plan based on lifeguard needs. “He said, ‘if it’s a problem with the lifeguards, let’s take that part of the project out.’ ”
The alternative, and focus of the LJP&B presentation, was a set of large cobblestones delineating the paths on the rocks. Neri said the stones would be six to eight inches wide and spaced two feet apart. They would be about 60 percent imbedded in the soil so they could not be easily pulled out.
“We came up with creating a trail as coastal access, so there is the same coastal access that everyone enjoys now, but it’s identified now, simply by having some small cobbles and decomposed granite imbedded in the soil, instead of having people running over the entire point,” he explained.
Neri added that people walking all over the rocks not only contributes to the erosion, but inhibits the needed plants from growing. He plans to plant native vegetation that can develop and adapt in the environment at the Cove.
“The idea is we replace the vegetation that was once there, with new vegetation that is adaptable to this very extreme and harsh environment without any supplemental irrigation,” he said. The plants would further outline where it is safe for pedestrians to walk and explore the cliffs.
Hoping for quick approval from the Department of Park and Rec and Department of Asset Management, Neri said the plants would ideally be planted in late December or early January 2014. In those cold and rainy conditions, he said, the plants could take root in their ideal conditions.
A motion to approve the changes to the plan passed unanimously.
Joking that he has been working on WindanSea improvements his entire life, Neri said he hopes to start the project for the “S-Curve” — the stretch of sidewalk that curves around 201 Bonaire St. and extends along Neptune Place leading to the beach access stairway — soon.
“To date, we have improved the parking lot, we’ve got benches placed along the coast and we have improved the coastal access stairways along this stretch of beach. The one built piece of work we haven’t done is ... the S-Curve,” he said.
The project proposes replacing the rusted, dilapidated chain-link fence with a combination of post-and-chain, guardrail and a post-and-rail barrier.
“By barriers, we are talking about something transparent not over three feet high, but that gives an implied barrier to people walking by so they don’t just walk down the bluffs at any point. Instead (of impeding beach access) we are guiding people to some already formed access ways down to the beach.”
In addition to the barrier and trail improvements, the gaps between the sidewalk and the current post and chain barrier that have formed over the years will be filled in with decomposed granite.
Neri explained his presentation was just an update, and that he would go to the Park and Recreation Department and the lifeguards, for feedback.
Their input will determine when Neri can implement the development. If the city determines the project requires a Coastal Development permit, it could take a year, Neri said. If the city determines this is a maintenance project — which Neri said he thinks it is — he could get started in early spring, with a break for the summer moratorium.
In other LJP&B news:
■ Regional Park Improvement Fund:
The City of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department staff will be making recommendations on how to allocate the Regional Park Improvement Funds (RPIF) over the next five years, and reached out to LJP&B for its suggestions.
“It came to my mind that we just completed the list of items we would like to see included in the Capital Improvements Plan,” said LJP&B Chair Dan Allen, who suggested the board pull items from that list and pass those suggestions on to Park and Rec to be included on the RIPF list.
The top three items the board submitted for consideration to the Capital Improvement Plan were: Coast Boulevard sidewalk improvements at Children’s Pool, the Scripps Park 2009 Plan, and to restore the ramp to the beach at Children’s Pool.
These items are three of 13 projects the board hopes to see funded.
“Since we already voted on these, in order of preference ... I’d like to see (items) one through three submitted,” said member Anne Podney.
However, after audience member comments, the board agreed to send the three suggestions as a bulleted list, as opposed to a prioritized, numbered list.
A motion to send the three items to the Department of Park and Rec as the official LJP&B suggestions passed with unanimity.
■ Cove lifeguard station:
Allen said he received a letter from City of San Diego project manager Jihad Sleiman regarding the Cove lifeguard station. “Architectural engineering drawings have been completed, a site development permit granted and coastal development permit issued,” he read, adding that a contractor has been signed up and the first phase will start this winter and be completed in fall 2014.
— LJP&B meets 4 p.m. fourth Mondays at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. Learn more at