Bandera Street view access re-opened in La Jolla after eight years

Residents of Bird Rock’s Bandera Street breathed a sigh of relief this month, when their beloved view access — which has been blocked by chain-link fencing for eight years — was reopened in March. The small corridor at the end of Bandera Street is identified in the La Jolla Community Plan as a view access point.

City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry’s field representative Mauricio Medina announced at the March 6 Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) meeting that a guardrail was posted on the street side of the view corridor and a short post-and-chain fence was installed on the bluff side. As of the BRCC meeting, a chain-link fence was also in place on the bluff-side of the corridor, but on March 13, it was reported the tall fence had come down.

“It’s a lot nicer than it was a few months ago, and we thank those who were involved with getting our office looped in and working with City staff to tackle this,” Medina said.

The white guardrail parallels the sidewalk, with two small ingresses on either side. One ingress is largely covered by vegetation. There is a dirt path leading to the bluff on one side of the corridor, with wildly growing vegetation throughout.

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.

“It’s been one thing after another for eight years … and enough was enough,” resident Mary Lynn Hyde told the group. “We started making phone calls to Barbara Bry’s and other City offices and presented before local community groups (starting in December 2017). If there is a moral to the story, it is work with your local City Council office. We’re lucky to have one that is willing to work with us.”

She added there was once sea lavender growing in a way that naturally delineated a path down the middle, which residents hope to restore. She, husband Steve Rossi, and other residents have stated their intention to assist with the landscape maintenance, pending City approval. Hyde added: “It’s a key location for watching the sun set or the green flash, or looking at surf breaks ... everyone will benefit when we get it completely back.”

Reflecting on the experience, Rossi said: <FZ,1,0,27>“We look forward to using the expertise we’ve developed thus far and work on restoring other view corridors in La Jolla, and there are a lot of them, that have been effectively privatized. So we’re not done yet.” The first step will be to photographically document all the view corridors listed in the La Jolla Community Plan, to see which ones have been overgrown or privatized, and, Rossi said, “see what we have to work with.”

BRCC treasurer Barbara Dunbar suggested looking into converting some of these overlooks into mini-parks so they would fall under the maintenance jurisdiction of the department of Park and Rec, and have consistent maintenance going forward.

In other BRCC news:

Open House signs: After multiple pleas to the City about preventing A-frame open house signs being placed in Bird Rock’s right-of-ways, including sidewalks and roundabouts, Medina reported Council member Bry brought the issue up with Mayor Faulconer and the head of the Development Services Department and a letter was drafted to be sent to the Real Estate Brokers’ Association informing them about the sign laws.

Ron Fineman, a BRCC trustee and real estate agent, said though he’s been quiet about the issue, he is not happy about it. “There are signs in places that hinder traffic and people from getting on the sidewalk. I’m very conscious where I put signs. Realtors have come to me to ask how to be compliant. But there are two sides to every story,” he opined. “Sellers want people at their open houses … we have to work together to come up with solutions that work for everyone. Real estate carries a lot of our economy.”

Foundation nets $135K: Bird Rock Foundation, which supports Bird Rock Elementary School, held its fundraising Spring Gala and online auction March 3, raising almost $135,000. Foundation president Alex Yerbury said: “We are going to use the money for enrichment programs for next year, and possibly another classroom teacher, depending on the number of students enrolled.”

An update was not available on the status of principal Amanda Hale, who was removed following parent complaints about her professional conduct. Interim principal Chris Hargrave is continuing to serve until a decision is reached on whether Hale will return or be replaced.

Student art contest: The 2018 Congressional Art Competition for high school-aged artists is accepting original pieces. The contest is open to all high school students and the deadline for submissions is 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 at The winner will have their art displayed at the U.S. Capitol for a year. Questions? Call (858) 455-5550.

— Bird Rock Community Council next meets 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Bird Rock Elementary School, 5371 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.