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La Jolla Shores Association considers ideas to repair Kellogg Park comfort station and eyes outdoor dining in 2021

Repairs to the shower drain are being eyed for The Shores' north comfort station in Kellogg Park.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The La Jolla Shores Association is considering ideas to repair the north comfort station in Kellogg Park after hearing a city proposal at the group’s Sept. 9 board meeting.

Built as part of a series of buildings in the park and funded mostly by private donations, the north comfort station — which offers restrooms and showers at the north end of the parking lot — is in need of repairs to the shower drain, which improperly allows shower water to run across the sidewalk toward the beach, mixing with sand to create a wet, messy hazard.

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, told LJSA board members that he met at the station with city Public Works Director James Nagelvoort and others to brainstorm ideas to address the problem.

Hadley said Public Works suggested removing the concrete from the area between the benches and the shower heads and raising the drain area so the water flows toward the drain rather than away.

He also said city representatives proposed putting in “continuous benches so the sand coming in off the seawall and the boardwalk doesn’t blow right up against the showers.”

If LJSA likes the concept, Hadley said, more work will be done to flesh out the proposal with “technical ideas.”

LJSA board member Mary Coakley Munk said “we would want to make sure that again we could have those [suggested new] benches donated for a certain amount of money and be able to have plaques put on them. They would just be a continuation of the wave benches that we already have started.”

Board member Pam Boynton said “the sand that muddies up on the boardwalk doesn’t come from the beach, it comes off the bodies of the people under the shower heads.”

“We stood there for the better part of an hour,” Hadley said, “and the opinion of the engineers was there is a certain amount of sand that comes from people, certainly from the surfboards, but they did not believe it was that much sand as was just standing there around the showers.”

LJSA President Janie Emerson asked Hadley about the current design of the station’s roof with respect to the new drain suggestions. The roof originally was extended to prevent rainwater from draining incorrectly and causing a slippery surface below.

Hadley said the current roof “complies with whatever regulations for that current drain, and if you leave the current drain you don’t have to extend the roof any more.”

Coakley Munk said “that is a problem, because the water coming off the roof is rainwater and if it’s being sloped to the drain, it’s a no-no. … It’s not going to work unless they figure out a way to slope away from the wall. You can’t have the rainwater running into that drain.”

Hadley said the engineers “might be able to design some kind of gutter system that directs [rainwater] away from the drain.”

Emerson asked the board members if they would agree to have Hadley tell Public Works that “we’re interested in the concept but we’re concerned about the handling of the rainwater per the current regulations. It needs to be more thoroughly fleshed out.”

The members agreed, with Coakley Munk saying, “I would not want to approve what they’re doing without getting their input on why they think it will work.”

Outdoor dining may extend into 2021

LJSA unanimously approved a motion to apply for a permit to extend The Shores’ outdoor dining program through 2021.

The San Diego Special Events & Filming Department has extended the current permit to allow one block of Avenida de la Playa to be closed daily through Dec. 30 this year so restaurants can place tables on the street to recoup business diminished by pandemic-related restrictions.

La Jolla Shores artist Paula McColl painted this scene of The Shores' outdoor dining program.
La Jolla Shores artist Paula McColl painted this scene of The Shores’ outdoor dining program, which has been extended through Dec. 30.
(Courtesy)

“The restaurants are all doing well, they’re very happy,” board member Phil Wise said. “They’ve made enough revenue during the shortened summer season so they should have enough to tide them over through the slow months of the winter,” though they look forward to continuing through Dec. 30. The permit does not allow the street closure on New Year’s Eve.

Wise said “the plan is, in October ... to reapply for another permit for next year. The permit would last through [2021] until COVID is resolved,” meaning if pandemic-related restrictions ease before the end of next year, the permit would expire.

Emerson thanked Wise and others involved in the endeavor, saying: “It’s really been a group effort. ... All [the restaurants] have pitched in; it’s been nice to see the community come together like that for all of their benefit.”

The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. Learn more at lajollashoresassociation.org.