Pottery Canyon subcommittee, now under Shores group, will look for community volunteers

Pottery Canyon
The oversight of the Pottery Canyon subcommittee to address concerns will now be the purview of the La Jolla Shores Association.

In preparation for handing off the oversight of maintenance issues within Pottery Canyon from La Jolla Parks & Beaches to the La Jolla Shores Association, members of an ad-hoc committee formerly under LJP&B gave an update on the group’s progress at LJSA’s Aug. 11 virtual meeting.

In March, it was determined that Pottery Canyon falls within the boundaries of La Jolla Shores, and would therefore be in LJSA’s jurisdiction. Prior to that discovery, it had been overseen by LJP&B, which formed a committee to address residents’ concerns about fire hazards. The committee will officially report to LJSA with updates from now on.

Since its formation, the committee has explored ways to rid Pottery Canyon of “the overgrown and dry brush and trees,” LJP&B member and committee co-chair Alexandra Corsi told LJSA.

She said the group, which includes representatives from LJSA, LJP&B, the city of San Diego and the nonprofit environmental group San Diego Canyonlands, has come up with a “brush clean up proposal,” but, “the project has been on hold because of any work could not start until fall due to environmental constraints” such as gnatcatcher breeding and nesting season.

LJSA President Janie Emerson added, “you can’t just go in and clean everything out because it is a natural park. You have to do at certain time periods and only certain things can be cleaned out, so it’s very different than just going in someplace and taking out everything that’s dead.”

Corsi said the group is “gearing up” to begin work in September. “La Jolla Shores Association will determine the strategy for proceeding with getting community volunteers to help” cleaning up the canyon.

“The good news is the city has a new volunteer program,” Corsi said, “so anyone who would like to volunteer to clean on this effort” will be able to.

LJSA board member Dede Donovan will now take over as committee chair. “My personal hope is that the Pottery Canyon effort will be more than just a clean up, that it will be helping that small area turn into a really nice park that could be used by residents,” she said.

Other LJSA news

The La Jolla Shores Association discussed its bylaws, Pottery Canyon and more at its Aug. 11 meeting.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Bylaws: LJSA took up a discussion of its bylaws and announced a special meeting would be held to vote on any revisions Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Emerson told the La Jolla Light the revisions to the bylaws are necessary to clarify membership requirements, update election procedures to include electronic methods and correct typos and punctuation errors.

“We needed to be sure that, beyond COVID, that the association has flexibility in these areas,” she said.

At the meeting, discussion ensued among the board members regarding various points.

Board member Rick Kent took issue with one section that stated “the board reserves the right to periodically update the registered member list and clear out entries where membership information, emails and addresses have expired or are otherwise no longer valid.”

“The meaning of ‘otherwise’ is a bit vague,” he said. “It’s that broad discretion that always concerns me when I read some of these things.”

Emerson said “bylaws are supposed to be the big umbrella, and they’re supposed to give you as much discretion as possible within a structure.”

Kent also expressed concern with a section that stated “multiple members of the same family shall not serve on the board at the same time,” as “this is a democratically elected board; if two members of the same family are elected, why can’t they serve on the board?”

Emerson said the prohibition is “pretty standard on most board associations … that you don’t have two people of the same family serving on a board at the same time. It’s a conflict of interest.”

Currently, some other La Jolla groups, such as La Jolla Parks & Beaches do not have such stipulations; both LJP&B and the La Jolla Community Recreation Group (the La Jolla Recreation Center’s advisory board) have married couples on those boards.

The corrections and revised bylaws will be voted on during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 (beyond the Light’s deadline), online. For more information, visit

MAD update: Shores resident Jeff Scott, who heads up a LJSA subcommittee to explore the formation of a Maintenance Assessment District for the area, said the committee is following the city of San Diego’s process, but that it is a multi-year process.

La Jolla currently has two MADs: one in Bird Rock, managed by the Bird Rock Community Council, and another in The Village, administered by Enhance La Jolla. By adding an assessment to property taxes, a MAD creates a funding mechanism to provide services beyond what a city is able to administer.

“We started off with a petition and then we would need to hire an engineering company to do a report, whereby boundary, scope [and] cost estimates would be confirmed,” Scott said.

The process would then move into “more of a public phase with hearings and balloting that would then ultimately lead to a City Council vote” to approve the MAD. Scott estimated the process would take “a couple of years.”

He said the most immediate steps for the LJSA committee to take would be to “define the benefits that we would want the MAD to do,” noting “there’s quite a bit of flexibility across the board in terms of what” activities various regional MADs take up.

He asked the LJSA members to submit “creative ideas of how you would like to see the maintenance of La Jolla Shores improve: it could be anything from hardscape to landscapes to trash pickup to putting recreational facilities in at the beach.”

Ideas can be emailed to in the next week or two, he said, before the committee begins “parsing out and categorizing” them; a firm deadline for emails was not given.

The committee would also need to define the boundaries of the MAD, he said, perhaps restricting it to “the downtown area” of The Shores or including the entire community.

Scott said the committee would then establish a nonprofit organization to manage the MAD and begin seeking public support.

“There’s quite a bit of homework for us to do” Scott said.

Lifeguard report: Lt. Lonnie Stephens of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said the lifeguards “have our eye on Labor Day” weekend but that “lifeguards continue to be busy here at La Jolla Shores and Black’s Beach.”

In July, “we had approximately 250,000 visitors to La Jolla Shores,” he said, with lifeguards performing about 7,400 preventative actions, or warnings given to people in the water.

There were also 203 water rescues and 74 medical aids performed in July, Stephens said.

“As we approach this Labor Day weekend, you will see a lot of our seasonal staff will return to college or return to their wintertime mode, so we’ll still be staffing our beaches, but we’ll be downgrading our staffing levels,” he said.

“We’ll still have our lifeguards at the beach ready to respond, but we’re just trying to finish strong and get through Labor Day with the busy crowds and water conditions we’ve had.”

The next regular meeting of the La Jolla Shores Association will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, currently scheduled as a virtual meeting.