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Parks & Beaches board drafts capital projects list and information sticker for beach fire signs

San Diego beach regulations are posted on signs at beach access points.
San Diego beach regulations are posted on signs at beach access points, and La Jolla Parks & Beaches is looking to add a sticker explaining how to legally and safely have a beach fire.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group is drafting two items that it believes will help the community: a capital improvement projects list it aims for the city of San Diego to fund and execute, and an informational sticker to accompany city signage addressing fires on La Jolla beaches.

The board discussed the items during its Sept. 28 meeting online but did not vote on either. Both will return at a future meeting.

Fire information

La Jolla Parks & Beaches has taken up the issue of fires on local beaches after residents complained of fires not contained in city fire rings, parties and excessive smoke that accompany the fires, and hot coals being buried in the sand that unknowing passersby may step on.

“We have done a lot of research into what other communities have done about beach fires and alternatives such as about propane barbecues and the city codes,” said LJP&B trustee Janet Stratford-Collins. “Based on our research, we have come up with an approach that [focuses on] education and enforcement.”

Current signs that outline city regulations have “a whole lot of information” and is “all negative,” such as no glass, no fires, etc., Stratford-Collins said. “So as we started researching, we came up with something that is not mentioned on these signs.”

Board member Ken Hunrichs “came up with the idea of putting a sticker over the posted signage on fires that says what is allowed, such as ‘Beach fires allowed 5 a.m. to midnight,’ and goes through the appropriate way to have a fire, such as in a fire ring, no paper, etc.,” Stratford-Collins said.

A mockup of the sticker was sent to the city Parks and Recreation Department for review of the wording and adherence to city rules.

When it comes to enforcement, Stratford-Collins said she learned that beach fires are considered low priority for police. “So we looked at park rangers,” she said. “But because they are not armed and patrol alone, they do not patrol at night. … But we are continuing to look into it.”

Capital projects list

Each year, the city offers community groups the chance to produce a list of projects for it to carry out. Funding sources include discretionary money that City Council members can allocate to city departments, along with money for specific capital improvement projects.

“We have this huge, long wish list,” LJP&B President Ann Dynes said. “So we want to see if there was a way to focus on specific projects instead of a big wish list.”

A working group was formed to review past lists, look at what has already been funded and could be removed, and what items would be considered maintenance and therefore inappropriate for a capital improvements list. Several previous items have carried over from year to year without being funded, and their placement on the 2021 list will be taken into consideration.

Hunrichs, chairman of the working group, said the list would focus on safety items such as fire mitigation at Pottery Canyon and repaving a worn street at Windansea Beach.

For example, the board suggests the city remove dead and dying eucalyptus and other fallen trees at Pottery Canyon to reduce fire hazard, install two picnic tables and grade and maintain a parking area.

The list also suggests items such as “widen the sidewalk in the 900 block of Coast Boulevard from Scripps Park to the Children’s Pool Plaza with a goal to beautify the coastal experience and improve pedestrian and vehicular navigation. Complete unfinished sidewalk bump-out that was removed from the Children’s Pool Plaza project. Conduct a comprehensive traffic and parking study of Coast Boulevard.”

At Windansea, the board recommends replacing “the asphalt road of Neptune Place between Palomar Avenue and Fern Glen with a concrete road surface, which was the original surface; repair storm drain causing erosion at 6933 Neptune Place between Kolmar and Rosemont streets; repair storm drain on Neptune at the foot of Palomar Street; install and maintain hot coal disposal containers near parking area.”

La Jolla Parks & Beaches' suggestions include hot coal disposal containers near the parking area at Windansea Beach.
The La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group’s suggested capital improvements include hot coal disposal containers near the parking area at Windansea Beach.
(Courtesy)

As in past years, the board’s list also includes “repair and reopen multipurpose beach access ramp” at the Children’s Pool. The area in question is a slope that has historically been used for beach access but has been closed by a gate since the 1990s. In 2017, the city of San Diego constructed a retaining wall in front of the slope as part of the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower construction. Hunrichs appealed the retaining wall construction to the California Coastal Commission, hoping to have it removed and the use of the slope restored, but the appeal was denied last month.

The California Coastal Commission effectively put an end to the issue of a controversial retaining wall built at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool when it ruled Sept. 10 that an appeal by the La Jolla Community Planning Association raised no new substantial issues and would not be heard further.

A project also is recommended for Coast Walk, for which Friends of Coast Walk Trail’s Brenda Fake said she and other residents were not consulted.

The project calls for repair of “cliff subsidence along Coast Walk, especially the eroded section encroaching into the trail at the rear of 7981 Prospect Place; repairing might require construction of some form of bridge.” It also calls for a property line and parking feasibility study on Coast Walk Drive.

“As always, there will be some controversial issues about different projects we are going to propose and carry through … but they should remain on the list,” Hunrichs told the board.

Once the board submits the list, it will be up to the City Council member for District 1 to determine which projects to fund. Joe LaCava and Will Moore are running for that seat in the Nov. 3 election.

Those who would like to add projects can do so over the next few weeks. The board is scheduled to vote on the list at its next meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, online. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org.