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Barrier plan stalls in efforts to keep people off unsanctioned trails at La Jolla’s Windansea Beach

Friends of Windansea wants to discourage use of makeshift trails to Windansea Beach by installing new post-and-rope barriers.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)
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While Friends of Windansea waits for a final hearing on whether it can proceed with plans to build a belvedere shade structure at Windansea Beach, a plan to keep people off makeshift trails on the bluffs there has hit a snag and is at least on pause.

“What’s happening is people are walking everywhere. They see the ocean and want to get to the ocean, so there are probably 12 new trails that have been created,” Friends of Windansea member and La Jolla Parks & Beaches board trustee Melinda Merryweather said at LJP&B’s Dec. 5 meeting at the La Jolla/Riford Library.

As a placeholder project, the group sought approval to put post-and-rope barriers next to the sidewalk to block people from the makeshift trails and help make sure they use the stairs.

The plan was to install the barriers while a bigger project to build a belvedere (also known as a gazebo) on Neptune Place near Rosemont Street is being hashed out.

The project including the belvedere was approved by local planning groups in 2020-21 and by city of San Diego agencies in 2021-22. However, every city approval has been appealed by the Preserve Windansea Beach Association, formed last year by opponents of the belvedere. The next and final hearing by the California Coastal Commission is scheduled for March.

Members of the Preserve Windansea Beach Association say they support repair elements of the overall project but are against construction of the gazebo, which they call a “nuisance” and an “eyesore” that could damage the bluffs and draw crime, parties and/or homeless people.

The project’s backers say the structure would replace a belvedere that was built in the 1920s and torn down in the 1980s in an apparent act of vandalism.

Members of Preserve Windansea Beach contacted the city to ask if work on the post-and-rope barriers could be done independently of the ongoing review of the belvedere project. In correspondence shared with the La Jolla Light, San Diego project manager Karen Bucey told Preserve Windansea that “no portion of the project can move forward until the appeal at the California Coastal Commission is resolved.”

“It’s not a good thing,” Merryweather said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”

Speaking later with the Light, Friends of Windansea member and architect Jim Neri said the group is no longer exploring the post-and-rope plan and would wait until the Coastal Commission hearing.

“It’s no big deal to us,” he said. “We just wanted to do some interim repairs. So for now, we just let it go.”

Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, told the LJP&B board that he would work to get clarity on the issue.

Members of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches group meet Dec. 5 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other LJP&B news

Concours d’Elegance: The board gave its support to next year’s edition of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance luxury and classic car show at Scripps Park after hearing there would be no major changes in how the park will be used.

“The map is the same as it has been for the last four years; nothing has changed in terms of the footprint of the park or out on the street,” said event chairman Michael Dorviller.

The only changes, he said, are that one of the entrances will be moved to a more central location and one of the events is being rescheduled to Friday night from Saturday night.

The Concours d’Elegance will be back for its 17th year Friday through Sunday, April 21-23. The “honored marque” for 2023 is Duesenberg. Proceeds from the event will go to the La Jolla Historical Society. Over the years, the Concours also has benefited additional local nonprofits.

For more information or to register a vehicle or buy tickets, visit lajollaconcours.com.

White fence project: LJP&B President Bob Evans said a working group met to discuss the scope and next steps for repairing portions of the white fences along Scripps Park.

Some residents fear the fences along Scripps Park are losing their stability and could pose a safety hazard.
(Claire Sheinberg)

“The scope begins with repair and maintenance,” he said. “We’re not going to build anything new, and we need to consider bluff erosion mitigation and invasive plant removal and planting native vegetation. It will require some environmental review by the city, so we are strategizing as to how to proceed with a right-of-entry permit.”

The fences in question separate the walkway from the bluffs next to Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove and go down toward the Children’s Pool. The formation of the working group came after some residents voiced concern that the fences are chipping away.

Coast Walk planting completed: Friends of Coast Walk Trail recently completed a three-year plan to plant native vegetation. In all, 500 new plants went in, said Friends President Brenda Fake, an LJP&B member.

The group now will monitor the plants to make sure they are established. The Friends had an inspection with the city this month and “passed with flying colors,” Fake said.

Going forward, the group will replace several benches, and some smaller projects will be announced, she said.

Next meeting: La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at a location to be determined. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org. ◆