Bird Rock MAD chief presents annual report

Streets too small for trucks, landscape constantly run over

During the annual Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) meeting Nov. 1, treasurer Barbara Dunbar shared concerns about the traffic-calming infrastructure being run over by cars and offered a few solutions.

“(Some streets) are literally not wide enough for trucks to go through,” she said during the meeting at La Jolla Masonic Lodge, 5655 La Jolla Blvd. So, several medians will remain without landscaping. “The issue is they are run over every single day. On one of them we have California poppies planted that come up seasonally.”

But, on top of the accidents, there are occasions where landscape damage is done on purpose. “Some people seem to think it’s funny to do drive-arounds on the apron of the roundabouts,” Dunbar reported. “If you go look, you can see some new fresh tracks. Unfortunately, drivers go over the edge and damage our plants and our irrigation system.”

Further, landscape is run over by drivers who aren’t familiar with it or don’t see it. For those instances, the MAD and the City of San Diego have a solution — planting additional drought-tolerant lantana that produces bright yellow flowers that add visibility to the traffic-calming infrastructure.

“We’ve had substantially fewer drive-overs when we use it, and we have comments from people saying it helps. The City is looking into planting lantana in other locations where there are similar problems,” she said.

Resident Steve Burr had questions about missing landscape on the north side of Bird Rock, which Dunbar blamed on the drive-over issue. She said that, for now, some patches will be left bare lacking a better solution.

The 2017-2018 MAD budget

The 2015-2016 assessment of the Bird Rock MAD calculated a higher amount than they ended up spending, and Bird Rock home or commercial owners will be paying $84 per Equivalent Benefit Unit (EBU) instead of the estimated $90 with their property taxes. Dunbar said, “The assessed rate is calculated based on EBUs, a single family home is one EBU, a condo is 7/10 of EBU and so forth.”

Dunbar explained that the MAD, supervised by BRCC, is responsible for “management and environmental safety, maintenance, irrigation, water conservation, aesthetics within the Maintenance Assessment District boundaries.” Among the improvements made this year, the MAD replaced the guard railings adjacent to the roundabout between La Jolla Boulevard and Midway Street.

She reminded residents of their role in alerting the MAD and City staff to broken curbs, potholes, missing or broken water meters and signage issues, so these problems can be addressed. “It’s illegal to display unpermitted signs in the district and the MAD is charged with collecting these signs. We are allowed to throw them away and we will do so.”

Another problem for the MAD is the depth of a few tree wells, which some neighbors say are too deep and have become pedestrian trip hazards. “That was pointed out to a City representative recently, and we discussed the possibility of adding soil, but that option would jeopardize the health of the tree,” Dunbar said. “However, the City did say we could add small-sized river rocks. So if the City does not respond, the MAD will add small rocks to the base of the trees where needed, and make the area more level.”

On a final note, Dunbar brought up a frustrating, ongoing issue caused by some dog-owners. “We’ve received complaints about off-leash dogs and dog waste. Certain areas are now fairly bad. It’s a dog-owner’s responsibility to pick up after their pet and keep their dogs on a leash. Landscape work crews should not have to clean up dog poop as part of their job.”

BRCC next meets 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6 for its Holiday Party, the location TBD.

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