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Shores group approves local coalition’s recommendations for San Diego parks plan

The La Jolla Shores Association approved the Parks and Recreation Coalition's recommendations for the city parks master plan.
The La Jolla Shores Association voted to approve the Parks and Recreation Coalition’s recommendations for the city of San Diego’s proposed parks master plan.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The La Jolla Shores Association voted to approve a local group’s recommendations for improving the city of San Diego’s proposed parks master plan.

The parks plan was the one component of the city’s Complete Communities initiative not approved by the City Council at its Nov. 9 meeting. The mobility choices, housing solutions and facilities financing components were given the green light.

The council voted to send the parks master plan back for revision — to return for a vote this year with five new council members seated.

In anticipation of the revision, a volunteer group called the Parks and Recreation Coalition, or PARC, formed late last year to offer input to the city on the parks plan. Its suggested revisions were approved by the La Jolla Community Planning Association on Jan. 7.

When the San Diego City Council took on the proposed Complete Communities initiative during its last meeting of 2020 (which also was the last meeting for five council members), most of it was approved, save for the parks master plan.

At the Jan. 13 La Jolla Shores Association meeting, Shores resident Claudia Baranowski presented information from PARC, which she said is “made up by a variety of volunteers: landscape architects, city planners and community planners” from across the city.

“We know we have a lot of beautiful parks in San Diego,” Baranowski said, “but as we all know, our parks master plan was last completed in 1956. The new parks master plan will have to last a long time.”

Baranowski, the incoming president of La Jolla Parks & Beaches, is not a member of PARC but said she has been one of the “people in the background” on the issue. She said PARC “has come together to further define and explain the park issues that need improvement. This group believes that these requests and improvements can be done in a reasonable time frame, and we’re looking at very specific requests to be made.”

She said PARC also recognizes that city staff put a lot of time into the proposed parks master plan. “There were a lot of admirable goals in it,” she said. “And it is relevant, accessible, sustainable, equitable. However, there are a variety of issues that this volunteer group would like to see addressed before it is presented to the City Council and then approved.”

Baranowski said PARC’s requests include consultation with community planning and recreation advisory groups, retention of the city’s park acreage standard and support for other significant funding sources.

Currently, the city provides 2.8 acres of park space for every 1,000 people in a given area. But the plan proposes at least 14 “points of recreational value” for every 1,000 people. Recreational value would be determined based on “features related to carrying capacity, recreation opportunities, access, amenities and activations,” according to the city website.

PARC also would like the city to ensure that trails and other public uses are consistent with the purpose of a multiple species conservation plan, or MSCP, a designation to protect species “endemic to San Diego and nowhere else,” PARC member and LJCPA President Diane Kane told the La Jolla Light.

Baranowski asked the LJSA board members “to adopt a motion to support these improvements and write a letter of support to the mayor and City Council requesting that they work with PARC as well as community planning groups and recreational advisory groups for input” on the parks master plan.

LJSA board member Mary Coakley Munk said “one of my main concerns is I don’t see any special consideration for the parks that are overrun relative to increased maintenance, and no special consideration for oceanfront parks.”

Baranowski said “a lot of the parks in our area are considered destination parks and they benefit not only the local community but also the tourist community. In that respect, there is nothing specific to the maintenance because these requests did not go into those specific details.”

LJSA President Janie Emerson said “one of our requests was that shoreline parks be treated differently, more like MSCP.”

Baranowski said PARC would like the parks master plan adapted so shoreline parks “get the recognition they deserve and not be in the same purview as other parks.”

“It’s critical,” Coakley Munk said.

The group unanimously passed a motion to support PARC’s recommendations for the parks master plan, with the addition of shoreline parks “as special destination parks to ensure their preservation and maintenance.” ◆