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Pottery Canyon oversight to go to La Jolla Shores group after boundary issue involving Parks & Beaches

This 2011 map, included with the 2016 La Jolla Parks & Beaches bylaws, led to confusion about the group's purview.
(Courtesy)

The La Jolla Shores Association will be taking the lead on Pottery Canyon maintenance issues following clarification of the group’s boundaries.

To further clarify boundaries and promote collaboration, LJSA unanimously approved a letter to send to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board as the latter undergoes a process to amend its bylaws.

At LJSA’s March 10 meeting, board member Andi Andreae said an ad-hoc committee created under LJP&B last year to address residents’ concerns about fire hazards in Pottery Canyon “made great progress … but then it was realized it was within [LJSA’s] purview, and so now we’re transferring it from Parks & Beaches to La Jolla Shores.”

LJP&B President Claudia Baranowski said “there was some initial confusion about which organization should lead this project because of how open spaces were not that clearly defined on a [2011] map” used as part of LJP&B’s 2016 bylaws.

The open-space parks within La Jolla, such as Pottery Canyon and La Jolla Heights, aren’t delineated on the map, but Pottery Canyon, which stretches between Torrey Pines Road and roughly Gilman Drive, does fall within the boundaries of La Jolla Shores.

“This truly is a documented boundary issue,” Baranowski said.

The Pottery Canyon working group has partnered with the city of San Diego’s natural resources manager and has a proposal “after thoroughly scoping the project,” Baranowski said.

However, she said the project is on hold “due to environmental constraints ... it’s the gnatcatcher nesting and breeding season.” Work cannot begin until fall, she said.

San Diego Canyonlands, which scoped the project for the city, “reported that the potential work in Pottery Canyon includes removing overgrown non-native shrubs and eucalyptus brush, installing erosion control measures, and restoration planting and watering,” Baranowski said. The planting and watering could be done by volunteers after coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted, she said.

“Another issue is funding,” Baranowski said. “We don’t know how much money the city might be able to contribute to this project, and we recognize that private fundraising will most likely be necessary.”

She said the current working group is “willing to stay together and work in any capacity after the Shores Association takes the lead on this project going forward.”

LJSA drafted a letter stating that LJSA is the “designated Park & Rec Council” for the area within The Shores’ boundaries.

The letter also suggested that LJP&B consider having two LJSA representatives on its board to facilitate collaboration.

LJSA President Janie Emerson said her group’s executive officers “felt that we needed to memorialize our concerns just so they were on record with Parks & Beaches. Claudia and I don’t see any problems going forward; we just felt that this was a good thing to send and emphasize how well the groups can work together.”

Emerson said she also is working with Baranowski and city Parks & Recreation Director Andy Field on “how to best delineate the two groups so they are contiguous to each other but we aren’t overlapping.”

Baranowski agreed that “an integration of efforts by both of our organizations to collaborate on projects and concerns affecting our areas will be advantageous for not only La Jollans but also those who appreciate our parks and beaches.”

She said the letter from LJSA “will be considered by the LJP&B bylaws working group during the second phase of the bylaws amendment process. This would start after the proposed amended bylaws [the first phase of amendments] are voted on by LJP&B members at the March 22 meeting.”

Other LJSA news

Undergrounding update: Steve Hadley, representing City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said in regard to a project to place utility lines underground that was paused as the city seeks a new utility franchise agreement, “the city was able to get SDG&E to continue to work on the east side of La Jolla Shores Drive; they hope to finish that by June 1.”

Hadley said he’s “not sure how they’re going to continue to work during the summer moratorium” on beach construction.

“The streets are as much a problem as the anxiety about getting things undergrounded,” Hadley said, “because we’re waiting on the end of that underground program to get the streets repaired. We were told ... that the slurry seal is budgeted in the undergrounding program. Actual repaving still has to find funding.”

He said LaCava is asking the city to “budget ahead in getting that money so the repaving can be done concurrently with the slurry at the end of the program itself.” The city had not yet answered the request.

Shores lifeguard update: Lt. Lonnie Stephens of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said 155,000 people visited La Jolla Shores beaches in January and 213,000 in February.

Twenty-one water rescues and one cliff rescue were performed in January, Stephens said. February saw 21 more water rescues and five cliff rescues.

“Our large surf in January and February really made the bottom contour at La Jolla Shores and Scripps [Pier] very uneven. So our rip currents are extremely active right now,” Stephens said.

He urged people to “always swim near a lifeguard; please don’t swim in those areas where lifeguards aren’t.”

Lifeguards took about 2,500 preventive measures in January, such as moving people out of rip currents or providing visitors with general safety messages, Stephens said.

About 2,600 preventive measures were performed in February, he said.

Board election results: Nearly 100 ballots were counted in a mail-in election to fill five LJSA board positions. The winners were incumbents Emerson, Pam Boynton and Sharon Luscomb, along with Rick Kent and Terry Kraszewski.

They will be sworn in at the next meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, online. Learn more at lajollashoresassociation.org.