City responds to Midway Bluff Overlook gripe: Suggests La Jolla residents maintain the spot going forward

“Does the City consider this finished?” That’s the question Clem Hoffman wrote to La Jolla Light when he submitted this photo of the Midway Bluff Overlook with black tarp and orange sandbags lining the curb and grass growing beneath.

The City took on the overlook project to restore the bluff by building a supporting wall, replanting the landscaped area, and adding an ADA-compliant travel ramp, a concrete path and a concrete bench. It was finished in 2016, after five years of being fenced off due to erosion.

“This two-year project cost more than $500,000 (after more than 12 years of planning), was completed two years ago, and now looks pretty decrepit,” Hoffman wrote.

“The park was built without a water supply, so occasional watering is accomplished by a City park person borrowing the generous adjacent neighbor’s garden hose. Much of the original vegetation has died. This beautiful view point receives high usage by both locals and visitors and does not create a very good impression.”

The Light reached out to City staff for an answer.

In response, City spokesperson Alec Phillipp said the sandbags and mesh: “are there due to the private construction (not Public Works), going on across the street at a residence. Those elements are required to reduce the potential for contaminants from construction work to enter the storm drain system.

“Public Works staff has visited that site and spoken to the contractor doing the work and will have them diligently monitor the mesh and sandbags, as well as clean the curb and gutter area.”

Of the weeds and maintenance going forward, City Council member Barbara Bry’s communications director Lora Fisher added: “This was a mitigation project, required by environmental permits to stabilize the bluff. … The plants are drought-resistant and do not require regular watering. A City staffer is also reaching out to Park & Recreation and the Streets Division regarding the weeds.

“With that being said, (the staffer) stated that the weeds will continue to be a problem and he recommended a request go out to resudents to see if there’s a group who might be interested in making the maintenance a community project.”

A similar proposal was brought up in late 2017 when Bry’s field representative Mauricio Medina recommended the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) form a garden club or volunteer group to assist with some of the maintenance.

At the time, a dissatisfied BRCC treasurer Barbra Dunbar said: “It is a City responsibility to take care of the overlooks. Since it is the City’s responsibility and the City should be paying for it, if we do it, we are not getting the benefits our taxes pay for. I don’t want to see us do any more of City responsibilities than we need to.”

However, a coastal overlook working group has since formed under the BRCC to investigate.

This is not the first round of controversy for this area. When construction was completed in 2016, orange netting was wrapped around the vegetation to help it take root. Once the plants had established to the point they had grown higher than the netting, Bird Rock residents asked the City to take it down.

When the City did take the orange netting down, it was replaced with similar beige netting. In October 2017, the beige netting was cut down and bundled, likely by a frustrated resident.

Fellow La Jollans: Please send La Jolla Light your leads to Village eyesores and we will go after the perpetrators. E-mail the scenarios and attach a photo, or call us and we’ll investigate who or what is Tarnishing Our Jewel!

Reach Editor Susan DeMaggio at (858) 875-5950 or e-mail: editor@lajollalight.com (and include a related photo).

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