Three coastal improvement projects under the auspices of La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJPB) were discussed at its May 19 meeting — the WindanSea S-Curve, Children’s Pool Walk Beautification, and Whale View Point.
The final stage of the WindanSea S-Curve project and the first stage of the Children’s Pool Walk Beautification project each needed an initial assessment from the city’s Planning Division that required a $5,000 deposit.
Landscape architect Jim Neri told La Jolla Light the Planning Division must assess the architectural drawings to determine the steps required to have the projects approved. For both projects, just half of the deposit was used for the assessment, so Friends of WindanSea and LJPB, the groups managing the S-Curve and Children’s Pool Walk projects respectively, will get the remaining money back.
The “good news” from the assessment for Children’s Pool Walk (and for project organizer Phyllis Minick) is that the plans are classified as a “replacement” project, and therefore are exempt from requiring a Coastal Development Permit and CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
“Our worst fears have not been realized,” Neri said. “It improves our chances of having Children’s Pool Walk be part of the current lifeguard tower construction ... and our chances (of finishing on schedule) are better.”
One fee Neri said he is hoping to avoid is the city-imposed project management fee. With projects like this, he said, the city typically assigns a project manager, who would collect about 30 percent of the project cost. However, because LJPB and Minick are essentially managing the project, Neri said he’s hopeful that District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner will “go to bat for the project” and waive the need for a project manager and the costs associated with that.
As soon as “all the boxes are checked” from the Planning Division assessment, Neri and Minick will apply for the next required assessment from the Department of Engineering.
Because the work takes place on a public right-of-way, the Department of Engineering must weigh in. Once that application is submitted, it takes two to three months to obtain a permit.
The project would repair the sidewalk and improve the appearance of the area above Children’s Pool. To minimize cost and take advantage of closures and contractors already on site (for the tower work) construction would need to begin by mid-August.
Neri said the application for the Planning Division assessment of the WindanSea S-Curve project was submitted at the same time as Children’s Pool, and is therefore at a similar phase of the process. The final phase of the S-Curve project was also classified as a “replacement” project and will not require an EIR or Coastal Development Permit, but must also go through the Department of Engineering.
This final phase would replace the posts and chains that line Neptune Place and fill in the gaps where the sidewalk does not connect to the bluff area.
It is the final phase of a project that previously installed donor benches along the bluff top, replaced or built beach access stairs at certain streets, and reconstructed the WindanSea parking lot.