City Council member Barbara Bry addressed the May meeting of the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC), updating residents about dockless bikes, short-term vacation rentals and mansionization, and answering all questions for a half hour on May 1 at Bird Rock Elementary.
Bry announced that she’s “researching what other cities are doing” about dockless bikes and that a Budget Committee meeting will be held on the subject in June. The reason it will come to Budget, she explained, is that “there will probably be some sort of fees that go along the enforcement it’s going to take to make sure that we all are safe and that these vehicles are leased appropriately.”
Bry added that she has seen police cite helmetless scooter riders in Pacific Beach, but that “really, it shouldn’t be the police officers, we should have meter maids doing it.”
Bry said she hasn’t seen Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposal on short-term vacation rentals, nor has she spoken to him about it, but that “he doesn’t have five votes for what he’s proposing right now, which I think is not something I would like.” (Word on the street is that the proposal would allow each resident not only to rent out their primary house on a short-term basis, but also to purchase another house to do the same.)
Bry said the mayor’s proposal, originally expected in April, was now expected “about a week before” the Council expects to vote on the subject in late June.
“If we can get something passed,” Bry said, “I’m fairly confident it will include platform accountability, which will make Airbnb and HomeAway and all the platforms report all the data to us — which the hotel industry has to do — so that we can monitor how many units have been rented and how long someone’s doing it.”
Bry also addressed mansionization, saying that she’s met with the mayor’s staff twice and “we’re hopeful that in the next land development code, there will be something appropriate.” She said that the City Council updates the land development code about once a year and just did so in April, so the next opportunity would be in about a year.
Citizens for Responsible Coastal Development member Sharon Wampler asked Bry if there could be a stopgap measure and Bry was pessimistic. “They need five votes,” she said. “I think Lori Zapf will work with me on this. She is my partner on short-term rentals.”
Bry then explained that Council members are at a disadvantage compared to the mayor because “he can talk to all nine of us, but I am subject to Brown Act and can only talk to three others on any one issue.”
During Bry’s Q&A, a new resident of Forward Street complained about the increase in the volume and speed of traffic on her block due to area construction. The resident said a traffic study confirmed the speeds on Forward as too high: more than 45 mph in a 25 mph zone. But she said she asked La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board for an additional stop sign, “and then they agreed and then took it back,” proposing to install a flashing speed monitor instead.
“I can’t load actually load my girls into our cars safely,” the resident said, “so what that means is that we’re going to have to move out of the neighborhood, because we can’t afford any other street in Bird Rock.”
Bry asked the resident for her contact info and suggested that “maybe we can help get the police to come” and clock the speed of parents while they’re dropping off and picking up their children at nearby Bird Rock Elementary.
In other Bird Rock news…
Treasurer Barbara Dunbar announced that more complaints have been received about dockless bikes, real-estate signs, planters and other merchant encroachments along La Jolla Boulevard. She also said that City officials were “pleased with the state of upkeep” during a quarterly inspection of the Maintenance Assessment District and that she was pleased that water usage was within budget from a conservation perspective. Finally, addressing the drainage problem at the intersection of Forward Street and La Jolla Boulevard — where water consistently pools by the roundabout — Dunbar called it “a City issue.”
Event planner Kathy Loper summarized the planning for the 19th Annual End of Summer 4-Mile Run, taking place Sunday, Aug. 26.
Two new events were also announced: the Summer Art Walk and Restaurant and Bakery Tour, which replaces the earlier Bird Rock Summer Picnic, taking place along La Jolla Boulevard on Sunday, Aug. 5; and Bird Rock Moves You, which will showcase local businesses that promote wellness and fitness, on Saturday, Sept 15.
Bird Rock Community Council next meets on Tuesday, June 5 at 6 p.m. at the Bird Rock Elementary School Auditorium, 5371 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.