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Bird Rock Council reviews MAD in preparation for 2017 budget

At the Oct. 6 Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) meeting at Bird Rock Elementary School, treasurer Barbara Dunbar reported that the guardrail next to the roundabout at Bird Rock Avenue has been repaired, with another at Forward Street slated for replacement soon.

Replacing the guardrails that divide pedestrians from vehicle traffic proceeding through the roundabouts along La Jolla Boulevard — along with landscaping, community cleanup, and repairs to plant, irrigation, and traffic sign damage — are all projects covered by the community’s Maintenance Assessment District (MAD).

The guardrail at Bird Rock Avenue, pre-repair
The guardrail at Bird Rock Avenue, pre-repair
Ashley Mackin

“Further down the line, the Midway guardrail will also be replaced,” Dunbar said. “The railings are often damaged by traffic or hit-and-run accidents, deterioration and/or vandalism.”

Under the auspice of the MAD, which is supervised by the BRCC, several community improvements have been made over the last year, which Dunbar enumerated via e-mail. These include: regular landscape maintenance throughout the MAD, public right-of-way cleanup, trash disposal from containers provided by BRCC, trash disposal of city containers in select areas, providing dog waste bags and disposal receptacles in certain areas, providing security on Halloween, and ongoing guardrail repair.

The rusted-out guardrails at Bird Rock Avenue were replaced recently, funded by MAD money.
The rusted-out guardrails at Bird Rock Avenue were replaced recently, funded by MAD money.
Ashley Mackin

An additional improvement, she said, includes “replacement of plants to enhance pedestrian and vehicular safety or which created safety issues, were incompatible with traffic emissions and the coastal climate, or were not sufficiently drought tolerant throughout the Bird Rock MAD.”

For example, in January, the MAD funded the removal of eight sycamore trees so they could be replaced with gold medallion trees, similar to those found elsewhere around Bird Rock. the city- planted sycamores had issues such as excessive roots (from being planted in an area too small for them); visibility for pedestrians; having split or double trunks further impairing visibility; fungus on the leaves to which crews were constantly applying fungicide; and wide leaves dropping and blocking ditch drains.

MAD funds are used to landscape and irrigate the roundabouts along La Jolla Boulevard.
MAD funds are used to landscape and irrigate the roundabouts along La Jolla Boulevard.
Ashley Mackin

Also, Dunbar said, the MAD conducts “regular irrigation system maintenance and repair in the Bird Rock MAD landscaped (medians) and emergency irrigation system repair following traffic accidents, drive-overs, and hit-and-runs.”

Per the BRCC newsletter (which outlines the history of the MAD), the BRCC and MAD boards select and work with an independent contractor to oversee the day- to-day MAD operations, and work with a landscape maintenance contractor for regular landscape and irrigation system maintenance and repair, selected public right-of-way clean up and trash disposal, and other services. Further, the city reviews the MAD during quarterly inspections.

BRCC’s next meeting will double as the annual MAD meeting, when the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017) will be reviewed and voted on. the proposed budget must be submitted to the city of San Diego’s Park & recreation

Department MAD Division by January in order to be included in the City’s annual budget process, which starts Feb. 1 and includes further review and revision, and then concludes with approval by the Mayor and city council in June 2016.

In other Bird Rock news

■ Car prowls up: BRCC chair Jacqueline bell gave a Neighborhood Watch update, reporting a recent increase in car prowls during which a thief makes a quick decision to break into a vehicle, thinking something valuable is inside.

“San Diego Police Department reminds everyone to lock your cars and remove valuables, and even some not-so-valuables. even if it’s your old gym bag with dirty clothes in it, thieves don’t know that and they may break into your car for it,” she said.

■ Short-term vacation rentals: resident (and District 1 city council candidate) Joe LaCava gave an update about the city-level progress on a decision over short-term vacation rentals (STVR). LaCava, who chairs the San Diego community Planners committee that oversees 42 community planning groups across San Diego, said there are two concepts being introduced. The first, “home-sharing” involves renting out a room while the homeowner remains there, and “short- term rental” that is a whole-house rental.

The community Planners committee voted several weeks ago to support home- sharing, but opposed whole-house rentals.

“Whether our recommendation will carry remains to be seen,” LaCava said, adding the city is reportedly in favor of allowing both.

The issue will go before the San Diego Planning commission this month, and city council for decision in November. “If you are not happy with either of those (concepts), now is the time to voice your opposition,” he said.

because San Diego and La Jolla are coastal communities, the California Coastal Commission must also ratify whatever decision is made. “If you oppose STVR, one of your enemies is also the coastal commission because they like the idea of giving access to coastal resources to the average person, and STVR arguably are less expensive (than hotel stays),” he said.

Find more information at savesandiegoneighborhoods.com or contact city councilmember Sherri Lightner at sandiego.gov/city council

— Bird Rock community council meets 6 p.m. first Tuesdays at various Rird Rock venues. The next meeting will be Nov. 3 at La Jolla Masonic Lodge, 5655 La Jolla Blvd. More at birdrockcc.org