Parks/Beaches board takes inventory of La Jolla’s overlooks: Some call improvement proposals ‘a private property rights issue’


For the last several months, community volunteers Melinda Merryweather and Mary Lynn Hyde have been visiting overlooks along La Jolla’s coastline — from Tourmaline Beach to La Jolla Farms — to document the conditions, suggest needs and inventory their findings.

In late March, Merryweather submitted the list to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group for review and recommended changes, hoping to get its blessing to forward the list onto the City for action.

The report is not final, Merryweather noted to La Jolla Light, and would undergo additional review before any formal board vote is taken.

For example, Merryweather said of the dedicated street-end at Sea Lane: “It is completely torn out and is no longer an access. You will break an ankle walking down there because there’s a set of stairs, but they fall into a gully and all the sand is gone.”

The inventory list includes eight sub-areas: La Jolla Farms, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Shores, Coast Walk, Coast Boulevard (including Children’s Pool), Windansea, La Jolla Hermosa (including several overlooks off Camino de la Costa) and Bird Rock.

In the Bird Rock area, the report suggests improvements to overlooks at Moss Lane, Bird Rock Avenue, Coral Lane, Chelsea Place, Forward Street, Midway Street, Calumet Park, Bandera Street and Linda Way.

Among the recommendations for the street-end at Bird Rock Avenue: sweep and wash down the concrete staircase on a regular basis, maintain regular trash pick-up, and re-position signs to protect/enhance view.

For areas such as La Jolla Farms, the report suggests removing red curbs on certain streets to create more beach access parking.

Other suggestions are more extensive.

On Moss Lane, for example, the recommendations include: replace rusted railing, remove all existing vegetation on south side of concrete walkway (only the tall palm trees would remain), remove the bougainvillea on north side of walkway, remove “illegal” drip irrigation in right of way, remove tall sprinkler heads which are “activated when property owner wishes to discourage use,” address water intrusion issue from adjacent property owner on south side “as runoff creates a soggy mess and contributes to bluff erosion,” and add trash can and provide regular trash pick-up.

But not everyone is happy with the findings.

At the March 25 La Jolla Parks & Beaches meeting, attorney Matt Peterson, representing the property owners who live on either side of one of the list’s overlooks, spoke out against submitting the report to the City until all affected property owners are notified of the suggestions.

Addressing the Bandera Street overlook — to which the list suggests adding a trash can and concrete bench, and makes requests of the adjacent homeowners — Peterson said: “These recommendations affect property owners, and if this board is considering this, every one of these property owners adjacent every one of these locations needs to be notified.

“In many cases, what this is asking for is to cut private trees and reduce private walls to open up views.

“So this is not just a coastal access issue, this is a private property rights issue.”

Speaking of his clients in particular, whom he said do not object to all the recommendations, Peterson pointed out that bench proposed would be an attractive nuisance and danger.

“Trash cans are a great idea, but they don’t get cleaned, so you have the issue of rats and over-spilling trash. Requiring modifications to private property is not within the purview of this board,” Peterson said.

The LJP&B board will revisit the inventory discussion at a future meeting.

— La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, April 22 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.