La Jolla Shores Association discusses beach safety, Pottery Canyon cleanup efforts and more

The Nov. 11 meeting of the La Jolla Shores Association.
Members of the La Jolla Shores Association discussed beach safety, Pottery Canyon cleanup and permit renewal for outdoor dining at their meeting Nov. 11.
(Elisabeth Frausto )

“Always swim near a lifeguard,” San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lt. Lonnie Stephens advised members of the La Jolla Shores Association at their Nov. 11 meeting.

Introducing himself as the newly appointed marine safety lieutenant for the La Jolla district, Stephens said that as the weather becomes colder in the late fall and winter, “the La Jolla Shores lifeguards will be switching to winter staffing mode, which are four lifeguards plus a sergeant on a daily basis and two guards staffed at Black’s Beach.”

Stephens is replacing Maureen Hodges, who was promoted to marine safety captain. He reminded people who may have relatives visiting for the holidays to “always swim near the guarded beaches and check in with the lifeguards when you go to the beach. We have the real-time information on where the hazardous areas are; we can direct you to the safest areas for your water activity.”

Stephens said October saw 1 million people visit city beaches, with lifeguards performing about 35,000 preventive actions, such as warning people to move out of rip current areas. Those actions “are basically intercepting or stopping any sort of water rescue that may occur,” he said.

Lifeguards made about 450 water rescues at city beaches in October, he said, and performed about 250 medical aid procedures, along with two cliff rescues in the Black’s Beach area.

Stephens said he would give specific statistics for the La Jolla Shores area at future meetings.

Brandon Broaddus, community relations officer for the San Diego Police Department, was asked about a previous commitment by Northern Division Lt. Lisa McKean to have officers patrol Kellogg Park after the parking lot is locked nightly. Broaddus said the department recently hired two new investigative service officers and that they will focus on “oversize vehicle ordinance complaints, the parking lots at Kellogg Park and other locations throughout the city. It’s really going to help.”

Other LJSA news

A committee of La Jolla residents is working with the city of San Diego to address vegetation concerns in Pottery Canyon.

Pottery Canyon update: Claudia Baranowski, a member of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group, said an ad-hoc committee formed to address concerns about overgrown vegetation in Pottery Canyon met with San Diego city representatives a few weeks ago. The 18-acre park off Torrey Pines Road is within the boundaries of The Shores and is managed by the city.

“We reviewed the boundaries and the rights of way [and] we’ve identified the immediate areas of concern that we would like addressed,” Baranowski said. “That includes removing non-native debris on the canyon floor, removing decaying eucalyptus limbs and acacia shrubs — those are non-native, so they can be removed — and putting a plan together to revegetate with native plants.”

Baranowski said the group learned that trails made by hikers are not maintained by the city, “so there’s nothing that can be done there.”

The group will have another meeting with city representatives in a few weeks to identify “budget and how much can be done,” she said. “At that point, we will determine steps for funding,” including how much private money might need to be sought. “We’re making gentle progress.”

The La Jolla Shores Association has authorized its executive committee to make further decisions regarding a recently filed lawsuit against UC San Diego and the University of California challenging UCSD’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Outdoor dining update: LJSA board member Phil Wise said the organization received $15,000 on Nov. 9 from a county-funded grant that was first approved in September.

The money is intended to help with the cost of LJSA’s outdoor dining program, which began in July in response to COVID-19-related restrictions that left restaurants and other businesses struggling. Under the program, one block of Avenida de la Playa is closed through Dec. 30 so restaurants can place tables on the street to help with social distancing.

“By the end of the year,” Wise said, “we’ll have a little money left over to apply for next year.” The intent is to apply for the same permit from the city’s Special Events & Filming Department for all of 2021.

Restaurants in La Jolla Shores have decorated their outdoor seating areas on Avenida de la Playa.

The permit will continue to require LJSA to hire a security guard to nightly move the barricades blocking the road in case emergency vehicles need access. The requirement costs the restaurants $6,000 monthly.

Wise said he also wanted to get new sandwich boards to replace signs on and around the blocked-off road that welcome people to the outdoor dining program, but he’ll wait until the permit for the following year is approved, as the signs can be costly.

“The restaurants are all doing pretty well, from what I understand,” Wise said. “Some are even doing better than last summer, which is very encouraging. It’s been a success; the restaurants want to continue it through next year.”

In researching how La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance — or blueprint for development — may be updated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the PDO advisory group discussed three areas of focus on Nov. 9: outdoor dining, converting office and retail space into residential, and even allowing three stories in The Village.

Benches for “The Map”: Following the opening of the Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza at Kellogg Park, LJSA board member Mary Coakley Munk said the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, of which she is a founding member and spearheaded “The Map,” is looking for donors to buy benches for the area.

The benches, Coakley Munk said, would be the same “wave” benches currently installed around the Kellogg Park north comfort station. Each of the planned six benches would accommodate two donor plaques.

Anyone interested in donating for a bench may email

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association will not meet in December due to the holidays. Its next meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13. To learn more, visit