Following a year of La Jollans battling to preserve or restore ocean view access points, such as the ones on Moss Lane and Playa del Norte, a group of Bird Rock residents seek to reopen a view access corridor closed for eight years at the end of Bandera Street.
They took their plea to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) during its Jan. 4 meeting at La Jolla Rec Center. They will next present to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group, during its 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 meeting, also at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St., and meet with City representatives in the interim.
Spearheaded by Melinda Merryweather, Mary Lynn Hyde and Steven Rossi, the idea is to remove the current six-foot chain-link fences (one near the street and one along the bluff, with no way to access the space between them) and replace them with what was once there — a post-and-chain pass-through barrier at the entrance and a shorter fence along the bluff.
“It’s time to return the view to the public,” Hyde said. “It’s time for us, the people who walk by and want to do surf checks and view sunsets, to get it back.”
Merryweather added: “It would be nice to be able to walk all the way up and look at the surf, but you have to stand behind another fence, which serves no purpose. No one is going to fall over, there’s no reason for that fence.”
Hyde later told La Jolla Light the overlook was barricaded in January 2010 due to bluff failure after an El Niño storm. In February 2010, the City erected a chain-link fence near the sidewalk in preparation for repairing the bluff. That summer, equipment was brought in.
In 2014, with the fence still intact, construction began on a property north of the corridor, and in 2017, the project expanded to the corridor for access and storage of construction materials.
Rossi explained: “The idea is to open the walkway, so people can walk up and be stopped by a more attractive fence. We have been in contact with the City and the neighborhood is willing to put up the funds to restore the fences.
“The neighborhood will assume responsibility for maintaining the corridor (which we were doing anyway), if they get rid of the fences that are an eyesore.” He said ideally, residents would like a short, pass-through post-and-chain barrier, similar to what was there before the bluff failure.
The corridor is listed in the La Jolla Community Plan as a shoreline access point, but there is no access to the beach. Although the plan calls for a “fence at entrance and at bluff edge,” it does not specify the height requirement.
The residents did not provide a rendering or drawing of what they would like to install, but agreed to return with one after meeting with City representatives in mid-January, and presenting to La Jolla Parks & Beaches at the end of the month.
Trustee Phil Merten said that “the people in the room seem to be behind your proposal,” and implied that the LJCPA board would likely support the change with their vote.
Trustee Mike Costello said: “The spot is no more dangerous than Calumet Park (a park on the edge of a cliff with no fence).”
The discussion follows two cases of possible view access point loss in 2017:
The first came last spring, when Moss Lane, a 20-foot-wide, 200-foot-long alley that runs from Abalone Place through Dolphin Place to an ocean lookout in Bird Rock, was nearly vacated, which would have divided the lane in two, giving each piece to the adjacent properties. Amid concern from residents, the applicant behind the plan retracted the request.
The second, which is ongoing, seeks to remove stanchions that hinder parking at what was once a view access point on Playa Del Norte.
In early 2017, La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation advisory board approved its installation to outline a no-parking zone where people were congregating and illegal activities were taking place.
However, LJCPA voted to ask the City to remove the stanchions and create two 15-minute parking places in their place, with no parking at night, so beach-goers and surfers could pull up and view the ocean or unload beach equipment.
A hearing has been scheduled with the City to discuss the issue.
— La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollaparksandbeaches.org