La Jolla’s Bird Rock Council grapples with real estate signs

The Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) has received complaints of excessive realtor signs being illegally posted in the public right-of-way on La Jolla Boulevard sidewalks and roundabouts. The sign proliferation, and what can be done about it, was discussed at the Sept. 5 BRCC meeting at Bird Rock Elementary School.

Introducing the issue, BRCC treasurer Barbara Dunbar said, “These signs are in violation of our community code and the San Diego Municipal Code. It’s a serious problem. Last week, and the weekend before that, there was an intersection on La Jolla Boulevard with eight signs. These signs are positioned so they block the handicap ramps, and we’ve received complaints from people having to step out into traffic (to get around them) and people with strollers trying to manuever by them. It’s also a safety issue because they are a distraction to those driving along La Jolla Boulevard, who are looking at the signs. Plus, it looks terrible.”

Dunbar said she understands the City’s Code Compliance Department “has a lot going on” and does not have a lot of manpower, and most of the problems occur on the weekends when open houses take place. Nevertheless, she said the problem “is getting worse.”

When asked by a meeting attendee what could be done, Dunbar said “(My husband and friends and I) lay the signs down when we walk around. We can actually remove them, but instead, we take a printed version of the applicable Municipal Code and affix it to the signs and lay them down.”

Citing San Diego Municipal Code Chapter 14, Article 2, Division 12, which reads “It is unlawful to … place, post, paint or secure any sign, pennant, flag, banner, balloon or similar attention-seeking device on public property or within the public right-of-way unless otherwise provided in the Municipal Code or specific state statute,” Dunbar later e-mailed La Jolla Light with the notices she affixes:

“Open house signs in the Bird Rock Neighborhood and Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District areas are prohibited by San Diego Municipal Code. Regarding these signs in the Bird Rock Neighborhood, the City of San Diego Municipal Code prohibits the placement of signs on public property or in the public right-of-way. This includes all sidewalks, handicap ramps, streets, bicycle lanes, driveways, curbs, crosswalks, roundabouts, roundabout aprons, splitters and medians, and public landscape areas including the areas maintained by the Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District.”

In other Bird Rock Council news

Pleas for repairs continue: City Council member Barbara Bry stopped by and the board took advantage of her presence to seek help in getting long-delayed municipal repairs carried out. One longstanding request is to have the netting that surrounds the Midway Bluff overlook removed. When the Midway Bluff stabilization project was completed last year, orange netting was set up to help establish new plants and walking paths. “We got the orange netting taken down, but now there is beige netting. The plants have been established since last fall,” Dunbar said.

Another request is for repairs to the uneven sidewalk near La Jolla Boulevard at Colima Street, which BRCC has been seeking for more than six months. There is currently an A-frame sign and orange striping to draw attention to the uneven sidewalk dangers.

Bry takes the mic: When it was her turn to speak, Council member Bry updated the board and attendees about the ongoing search for a new San Diego Police Chief. “As most of you know, Chief Shelley Zimmerman is retiring in March and the City is commencing a national search to replace her,” Bry said. “Right now, the City is in the process of hiring a search firm, but there will also be a number of community forums. Residents will be able to provide input in terms of the characteristics they’d like to see in the next police chief, and what they think the major issues are that are facing the City in terms of public safety.” The forum for District 1 (which includes La Jolla) will be at the Standley Rec Center, 3585 Governor Drive in University City at an October date to be determined.

More street benches: After issuing a call for donations for new artful sidewalk benches, Dunbar said the BRCC collected enough for two large benches and one small one, to be decorated by mosaic artist Jane Wheeler. “If you’ve seen some of her benches around town, they look really nice. It’s indicative of Bird Rock to me,” Dunbar said. A date for installation was not announced.

— Bird Rock Community Council meets 6 p.m. first Tuesdays at varied Bird Rock venues.