La Jolla parks group explores moratorium on coast events

La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group (LJP&B), hoping to curb some of the events that make their way into Scripps Park, is looking to work with the City and strike an agreement — possibly even a moratorium — on new events.

The proposed moratorium was discussed at the Jan. 22 meeting at Rec Center.

In reading from the group’s bylaws, trustee Debbie Beacham said one of the purposes of LJP&B is to “preserve, protect and enhance La Jolla Parks and Beaches, other recreational resources, public open spaces and coastal accesses in La Jolla. … (And) to develop reasonable restrictions for programs or activities in the area consistent with the rights of the general public, and all applicable laws.”

Yet, she added, “it seems like every month we have a presentation for some new event, someone wanting to use the park for their own benefit — nonprofit or for-profit.”

Case in point is the inaugural San Diego Beer Chase, planned for Feb. 24, possibly in Scripps Park (the course map has not been posted). The event applicant was slated to present to the board to request use of the park, but did not show up. Board members noted, given their advisory-only status, the City’s special events department could approve events regardless of whether LJP&B hears or supports them. (Nevertheless, the board voted to deny the request 13-2-2.)

But even before the Beer Chase asked to present, LJP&B formed a working group and concluded they need to explore how these events are approved in more detail, suggesting a moratorium on new events to give the board time for that exploration.

“The (San Diego Beer Chase group) presented an application to the City, and they have no idea that we have concerns,” Beacham said. “We want to communicate to the City that we don’t want them to rubber-stamp everything they see.”

As an alternative to the moratorium, trustee Tom Brady suggested: “We need to establish a relationship with the City’s special events department and familiarize ourselves with the approval process the City uses.”

After lengthy discussion as to whether to request a moratorium or meet with the City, the sub-committee agreed to meet with the City’s event-permitting entities to find out how many events are held, their approval process, what LJP&B could do to have an impact and more. “With more information, we could come up with a more thoughtful approach,” LJP&B chair Ann Dynes said. Further information will be presented at a future meeting.

In other LJP&B news:

Slate of officers elected: A nominating committee formed in late 2017 to recommend a new vice-president and treasurer (the remaining two positions are elected in alternating years) and last month, nominated Bill Robbins for vice-president and John Shannon for treasurer. The slate was elected at the January meeting.

Bandera St. success: The meetings held between the Jan. 4 La Jolla Community Planning Association and Jan. 22 LJP&B meeting to try and re-establish the Bandera Street view access must have been productive, as the access is expected to re-open in the coming weeks. Resident Steve Rossi spoke about how the access was closed off by way of two six-foot chain-link fences for eight years. “This may be a proceduraly moot matter, because today we learned, that thanks to Council member Barbara Bry, there is going to be something in two weeks and what you see now — two chain-link fences — will be gone and there will be post-and-chain barriers that you can walk through and view the bluff with lateral egress for pedestrians.”

Just in case, the board voted to support the view access restoration.

Children’s Pool work: In what is beginning to sound like a broken record, it was once again reported that work will begin this year on the Children’s Pool Walk Beautification Project. “Engineers assured, they assured me, that construction will begin on or around June 1 and will be completed by Dec. 15. That would be a time for a good celebration, and let me tell you, I will organize it!” said organizer Phyllis Minick. An update will likely be provided at the March LJP&B meeting.

The project, eight years in the making (most of which were caught up in City red tape), will improve pedestrian access and flow on the sidewalk above Children’s Pool.

Stair repair: Friends of WindanSea made repairs to the Palomar Street staircase to the tune of $3,400. Repairs include refastening loose stair treads, treating rust and fasteners as needed, repaint and cut back on iceplant.

Princess progress: The beach access at Princess Street has entered its next phase, said Environmental Center of San Diego representative Pam Heatherington. “At the end of last year, we sent out Requests for Proposal and Requests for Qualification to nine different landscape architect firms, and we are just now starting to get feedback from them. They have until Feb. 16 to offer their proposals, then we will have a vetting committee and go from there,” she said. “It’s one foot in front of the other.”

La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

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