‘Public parking’ on La Jolla’s Little Street is redeveloped, triggering complaint to city

This parking configuration on Little Street is in an area that was once open to the public.

A space on Little Street in La Jolla that was once used as public parking has been redeveloped and is being used as private homeowner parking, leading to a complaint to the city of San Diego.

What was once an open gravel lot that some say was used as beach parking (Little Street is a few blocks from The Marine Room and its beach access) now has planters, cones and lights.

At issue is whether the space is city property or private property, or perhaps a bit of both. Those who used the makeshift parking lot say the area, which is between a house and the city street, is city property.

An anonymous complaint filed with the city Code Enforcement Division refers to the area as “public parking” and a “city parking area,” though it has not been confirmed to be city land.

One of the homeowners, Ron Greenspan, said he did not want to comment other than say “we are in the process of working it out with the city.”

City spokesman Anthony Santacroce said Code Enforcement will investigate whether the area is public or private and how to proceed.

“We looked at the parcel maps and it’s ambiguous,” he said. “The gravel is mostly private property, but it may encroach into the public right of way.

“One solution might be that the homeowner might have to pull back the development, but there still wouldn’t be space to park the cars on the property like it was before. It likely won’t go back to the way it was.”

According to the complaint, “The public parking … in front of 1964 Little St. has been radically reduced by the homeowners without city permits and is now claimed as a private parking area with ‘no parking’ signs and red cones.”

Before that, the complaint states, “a large city parking area for beach access was available for the public.” The new arrangement “forces visitors to park further away; elders and families are inconvenienced by this inconsiderate theft of public land.”

Trees, cones and "no parking" signs deter the public from parking in this area on Little Street.

Beach access advocate Melinda Merryweather told the La Jolla Light: “People knew it was a place to park and walk to The Marine Room. ... It could have been seven spaces before; now there are flower beds and cones that make it look like private property.”

Little Street neighbor Paul Mears said the homeowners made renovations to the property, “as was their right,” but the “problems” arose when they renovated the front of the house. “They seemed to abhor the idea of public parking in front of their new home. Their remedy seems designed to transform this parking area into something private.” ◆