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Shores Association discusses latest on Kellogg Park comfort station, Pottery Canyon and outdoor dining

The north comfort station at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores needs repairs to its shower drain.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Kellogg Park’s north comfort station — a restroom and shower facility built as part of a series of buildings in La Jolla Shores and funded mostly by private donations — needs repairs to the shower drain. But a city-proposed solution has La Jolla Shores Association board member Mary Coakley Munk worried.

At the board’s Oct. 14 meeting, Coakley Munk said she received an email from city public works staff asking if “we would be agreeable to put plain concrete … to replace the decorative concrete that is existing there.”

She later told the La Jolla Light that “I don’t know why you would put something in there that was substandard.” She also said plain concrete might be more slippery than the decorative, “which has a good grip.”

She said an executive committee discussed and declined the idea. “We want to maintain the decorative concrete look that we have now,” Coakley Munk said, adding that she is “very concerned because the proposal that has been made could make the situation even worse than it is right now.”

The drain currently allows shower water to run across the sidewalk toward the beach, mixing with sand to create a wet, messy hazard.

Steve Hadley, representing City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, said his office hadn’t heard anything further about the repair plans.

“I know there was discussion … sharing concerns with drainage,” Hadley said. “[City] staff is still interested in pursuing the drain proposed. It’s too soon to know a definitive answer on that.”

Regarding replacing the decorative concrete with something simpler, Hadley said the idea “was not discussed” during his onsite visit with public works staff in August.

Coakley Munk expressed worry about the project’s length and cost. “I am very concerned that they are spending the amount of money and time ... on something that should have been a simple fix,” she said.

She said the city budget allocated $100,000 to address the drainage problem.

Coakley Munk said Grunow Construction “provided detailed plans for adding an additional drain three feet out from the shower wall, parallel to it, as well as for extending the roof to cover the drain so rainwater would not enter it, which is against city regulations,” with a total cost of $20,000 “if we had been given permission to proceed and would have left the existing concrete as is.”

Other LJSA news

Pottery Canyon
A La Jolla Parks & Beaches working group was formed to address concerns about overgrown brush and trees in Pottery Canyon.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Pottery Canyon update: La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group member Claudia Baranowski said a working group formed within LJP&B to address concerns about overgrown brush and trees in Pottery Canyon is “addressing a variety of things.”

The working group’s goals, she said, “include reviewing the canyon boundary map and environmental documents so we can understand rights of way as well as ownership,” which is of particular importance to the homeowners who live at the top of the canyon and have expressed concern about fire dangers.

The 18-acre park, the entrance to which is off Torrey Pines Road, is one of 30 open-space canyon parklands managed by the city and “has to be kept in its natural state” per city, state and federal regulations, Baranowski said.

“That means no pruning, no shaping, no landscaping, because all the plants, animals and cultural resources are protected,” Baranowski said.

However, she said, cutting back non-native trees and shrubs rather than native ones may be executed by the city Parks & Recreation Department “as resources and staff allow.”

The group also is researching “if razing by goats could be used as a means to control some of that vegetation,” Baranowski said. “We have lines of communications established with the open-space natural resources manager” and a meeting scheduled at the Pottery Canyon site to start “plugging away at these concerns that we have.”

Since the group first met with city representatives last month, a new trash can has appeared in the canyon, Baranowski said. “I take that as good news, that maybe our voices are being heard,” she added.

Outdoor dining update: La Jolla Shores Association board member Phil Wise said a grant application that led to the county giving LJSA money in September to help with the cost of its outdoor dining program had to be resubmitted.

LJSA was allocated $15,000 from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program and planned to use it to cover costs of the dining program, which began in July in response to COVID-19-related restrictions that left restaurants and other businesses struggling. The program has closed one block of Avenida de la Playa through Dec. 30 so restaurants can place tables on the street to allow for social distancing.

“The problem was,” Wise said, “the only items that [the grant] allowed us to purchase was tables and chairs, and unfortunately, we never purchased any tables or chairs.”

The application was resubmitted, “naming every item that we actually spent money on, specifically security,” he said.

A nightly security guard is a requirement of the permit to allow the street closure for outdoor dining. The guard is needed to move the barricades blocking the road in case emergency vehicles need access. The requirement costs the restaurants $6,000 monthly.

Wise said LJSA received a revised grant for the same amount, and the funds are expected to come through next month, after he completes and submits one more form. “That’s very good,” he said. “Hopefully, with that money, we should be good until the end of the year.”

The current outdoor dining program ends Dec. 30, but Wise said he plans to submit an application to the city Special Events & Filming Department for an outdoor dining permit for all of 2021.

“The application for next year is only good as long as COVID exists,” Wise said. “Once COVID is resolved, our application, our permit will be void, and we will have to remove everything.”

Wise said the program is going well, citing a conversation with one restaurant owner who he said “actually generated more revenue this year than last year.”

Board member Coco Tihanyi said the program also is benefiting neighboring retailers, who she said “seemed pretty happy. It’s a group effort. We have one little street, and if the restaurants are doing fine, then we have more of the local community support and more customers in the establishments.” ◆