Shores board looks to launch community-wide eco-efforts

Following some serious changes to litter-reduction and trash pick-up along Avenida de la Playa — and just in time for famed oceanographer Walter Munk’s 101st birthday — the La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) launched efforts to make their community a beacon of eco-friendliness.

During the board’s Sept. 12 meeting, LJSA members voiced various ideas for making the area more environmentally conscious, including a plastics reduction campaign and an all-out water conservation program.

“I think it would be fabulous if this board decided to be at the forefront of pushing green efforts and making La Jolla Shores one of the key communities with this,” said LJSA chair Janie Emerson, introducing a larger conversation.

Friends of La Jolla Shores and the newly formed Walter Munk Foundation are spearheading an effort to reduce single-use plastics and single-use plastic straws in La Jolla Shores. At past meetings, Friends of La Jolla Shores president Mary Coakley-Munk said there might be options to subsidize businesses that invest in alternatives, whether these be biodegradable straws or reusable straws. She was not at the meeting to elaborate, so the topic was carried over to the next meeting.

Additionally, Ocean Girl apparel-store owner Terry Kraszewski said she would like the City to look into any environmental or health hazards associated with RoundUp weed killer and consider more natural options in public parks, starting with Kellogg Park.

Trustee Joe Dicks introduced the concept of waterless and flush-less urinals for all new developments and redeveloped public spaces in La Jolla Shores, and growing from there. “I’m really excited about this prospect because I don’t think there are any other water-saving device ideas that this City can endorse than will save more water more quickly than this one. It is a virtual no-brainer,” he said. “When you look at all the toilets in San Diego, you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of flushes every day, with different numbers of gallons per flush. That’s millions of gallons of water! And in some places, you don’t even have a choice because the toilets flush automatically!”

Dicks said he researched other cities that implemented this practice, and found flushless urinals cost the same or less than conventional toilets, but save in maintenance because there are no valves or anything to repair, and they use no water. He found options for men and women that could go in both single-sex and unisex bathrooms.

The model Dicks liked, was one used in Pismo Beach. It’s most recent Municipal Code mandates “all urinals installed in a new building, new additional restroom within an existing building or replacement of an existing urinal shall be waterless.” It also lists some, limited, exceptions. It also requires all existing urinals be retrofitted to be waterless.

“It’s silly that this is not mandatory for any new construction or reconstruction,” Dicks opined.

The board voted to authorize Dicks to speak to the appropriate City agencies about the feasibility this system, and report back.

In discussing the new trash cans the City recently added along Avenida de la Playa, the board was apprised of small changes that could reduce litter. Since July, residents have lamented the insufficient trash pick-up on their main street, and in August, the City increased the number of trash cans, added liners to the receptacles, and upped its collections frequency.

Renee Robertson, interim deputy director of Environmental Services Department explained: “Previously in the summer we had a schedule (of trash pick-up) seven days, and then we would drop it in the wintertime (to five days a week). We’ve increased our service schedule to twice a day to address the concerns and continue our seven-day-a-week collection indefinitely at this point.”

At the same time, she said City staff would work with Shores businesses to encourage them to add private trash cans to further assist, and she suggested food-service businesses reduce — if not eliminate — Styrofoam use. “Try to have a model that keeps services in-house to reduce takeaway plates and such to reduce waste in the first place,” she explained. “There are also plastic containers that are completely recyclable businesses can use.”

In other LJSA news:

Fall Fest canceled: La Jolla Shores Business Association president Angie Preisendorfer said a Fall Fest celebration would not be held this October, without further elaboration.

Traffic increase coming: Move-in week for UC San Diego started Sept. 15 and continues through Sept. 25, so university officials warned there will be changes to traffic patterns on streets that feed into the campus, as well as surrounding grocery and furnishing stores.

Ranger absence: LJSA trustee John Sheridan expressed concern that there was not enough attention being paid to The Shores by park rangers. He, and a subcommittee, collected statistics for the month of June and found rangers only made contact with those breaking laws, once every couple of days. The majority of these were over off-leash dogs or dogs on the boardwalk where they are not permitted.

“We have more than 3 million people that visit The Shores in a calendar year ... we need a higher level of engagement and stronger law-enforcement presence,” Sheridan explained. “The other thing that is quite frustrating, is that by their own admission, the rangers sent me a note indicating they seek the lowest amount of public controversy. So over one calendar year, they’ve written no tickets. It’s a silly situation. There are no consequences for the actions of repeat offenders. There has to be something done about this.”

Emerson noted: “The community expectations are not being met by the lack of interaction.”

A motion to authorize Emerson and Sheridan to speak to City officials about the issue passed unanimously.

The next Shores meeting will focus on cumulative greening efforts, as well as celebrate Walter Munk’s birthday at a reception 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8840 Biological Grade. Munk will turn 101 on Oct. 19. lajollashoresassociation.org

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