‘Excess lights’ in La Jolla Shores bring complaints from local board member
Lights at the La Jolla Shores Hotel and Scripps Pier are ‘irritating,’ according to Shores Association trustee ‘Andi’ Andreae, who says there’s already enough light along the boardwalk.
A year ago, La Jolla Shores residents were upset about many streetlight outages, saying they created a danger for pedestrians.
With that situation looking up, La Jolla Shores Association board member Meinrat “Andi” Andreae now says some lights in The Shores are too bright and are causing light pollution.
He’s asking for action to reduce the brightness along The Shores boardwalk, where early last year residents expressed dissatisfaction that all the streetlights were out.
Some lights have been out for years, residents say. The city of San Diego says steps are being taken to improve response times and address the volume of reports.
Those lights are back on, but light pollution from “unwanted, inappropriate or excessive artificial lighting” is a problem, Andreae said at LJSA’s March 8 meeting.
He pointed to “two dominant sources of excess lights” — one at each end of the beach.
The La Jolla Shores Hotel, he said, has three “very bright lights.”
“The glare is intense enough that after dark, you can actually not see the ground that’s in front of you,” Andreae said.
The other source, which he called “just as irritating,” is Scripps Pier.
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which operates the pier as a research facility, “really should be much more cognizant of light pollution and mitigate these lights by installing screens,” said Andreae, who is a researcher for the institute.
Andreae said light pollution is harmful because it obscures views of the night sky, can disrupt ecosystems and navigation of migrating birds and insects and have other negative effects.
Brittany Hook, a communications specialist for Scripps Oceanography, told the La Jolla Light that the institution hasn’t received any complaints about lighting on the pier.
“Nevertheless, we are mindful of potential sources of light pollution and strive to minimize impacts from legitimate lighting needs,” Hook said.
The La Jolla Shores Hotel declined to comment.
Andreae said there also is lesser light pollution from homes on El Paseo Grande facing the ocean.
“My suggestion would be that we communicate, especially to the two sources of light at each end of La Jolla Shores beach, that … it would be desirable that their light sources be mitigated,” he said.
But Shores resident Kathleen Neil said she finds the lights to be beneficial.
“I do walk at night, and sometimes I’m alone and I usually carry [self-defense spray] with me,” she said. “For anyone who goes out there, it’s also nice to know that you can see when someone is approaching you.”
Neil said the lights at the hotel are on “when children are out there playing in the later afternoon and early darkness.”
Andreae countered that “lights should be where they’re needed. There’s actually a good amount of light along the boardwalk, which provides … lighting in a less problematic way.”
Shores resident Mike McCormack said the lights at the hotel and the pier could be “collared so the light is directed to the area of interest.”
The topic was for discussion only at the meeting and the board took no action.
The La Jolla Shores Association board approved a change to its bylaws that will allow its meetings to stay online after California’s COVID-19 state of emergency expired Feb. 28.
Other LJSA news
Project requests: The La Jolla Shores Association began to compile its annual list of improvement projects to request of the city of San Diego, maintaining much of its previous list, with two additions.
LJSA discussed keeping many of the requests that are still undone from last year’s list, such as refurbishing the La Jolla Shores boardwalk’s crumbling walls and developing a landscape and street tree plan for The Shores.
“We should probably just copy and paste a lot of these,” board member Chuck Merriman said.
Steve Hadley, representing the office of San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said many council members have seen the same list but urged LJSA to continue submitting it, despite the repeats.
“Going into the budget season ... it helps to hear what is currently on your mind,” Hadley said. “It helps [LaCava] to be able to say ‘I’m hearing from The Shores again.’ ... It’s the weight of your discussion that actually gives him what he needs when he … argues that to his colleagues and the mayor.”
LJSA board member Ross Rudolph said he’d like to add a request for improved and more visible signs for beach fire regulations.
Shores resident Richard Dahlberg said he would add increased beautification and maintenance of La Jolla Parkway between Torrey Pines Road and Interstate 5 and Highway 52.
Short-term rentals: Bird Rock resident Trudy Grundland expressed her concern about the number of whole-house short-term vacation rentals in areas experiencing what she considers saturation.
Her presentation mirrored others she made to the La Jolla Community Planning Association and the Bird Rock Community Council.
Grundland said “the Airbnb guests that run into me call me ‘Karen Wealthy’” for complaining about noise and other disturbances coming from short-term rentals in her neighborhood.
Grundland has mapped where short-term rental licenses were granted in La Jolla based on city data and said La Jolla Shores is one of the most saturated areas, with 21 rentals on La Jolla Shores Drive, 18 on El Paseo Grande and seven on Avenida de la Playa.
She added that there are many more throughout The Shores.
Grundland said she’s concerned about how a city ordinance that regulates short-term rentals will be enforced and asked Shores residents to “stay on top of what is going on next to them and [notify LaCava]. … I think the more information they get, the sooner they’ll be able to make a plan that reacts to this.” ◆
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