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Group opposes barrier at Children’s Pool

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) reiterated its opposition to restricting public access at Children’s Pool beach last week. The group voted 7-5-1 to oppose the city’s annual placement of a rope barrier at the pool separating humans from marine mammals during their mid-December to mid-May pupping season.

LJCPA member Phil Merten made the motion after a presentation by city shoreline park director Dan Daneri.

“The rope barrier conflicts with La Jolla’s community plan that specifically states that the city should ensure that new development not restrict or prevent vertical access to the beach,” said Merten. “We should reject the rope barrier as not being consistent with the public access provision of La Jolla’s community plan.”

“It’s worked in the past and we’re happy with the way it has worked,” said Daneri about the rope barrier and its accompanying pool signage. “Signs on the beach are down low enough where most of the viewing is from above. And there are signs mounted on the stairwell that make it very clear that the beach is open (for public use).”

Daneri added it is the city’s preference as a cost-cutting measure that the Children’s Pool rope barrier go up automatically each year without public review, pending court rulings to the contrary.

LJCPA member Tom Brady objected to placement of the rope barrier and its annual reinstatement at the pool. “I’m concerned about public access to the beach,” he said. “Ellen Browning Scripps would be rolling over in her grave if she knew this rope barrier was going up and that it was not coming back annually for public comment.”

Planner Ray Weiss opposed Merten’s motion, saying the rope barrier acts much like “a fence around a swimming pool.” “It lets people know that they’re violating federal law if they disturb the seals,” he said. “The city is threading this needle between public access and the Marine Mammal Protection Act in a productive way.”

Flauta contest anticipated

In other matters, LJCPA voted 12-0-1 to support a proposed street closure on Prospect Street between Girard Avenue and Herschel Avenue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, the same day as the La Jolla Christmas Parade. The closure is to accommodate Jose’s Courtroom’s planned World Flauta Eating Championship expected to draw 200 to 300 people to the Village with live bands, a beer and margarita garden and a wrapped gift collection benefiting charity.

Medical marijuana dispensaries watched

LJCPA chair Joe LaCava said there are presently four medical marijuana dispensaries open in La Jolla, including two in Bird Rock. He said the city is involved in efforts to study how best to regulate them. Representatives from La Jolla’s community advisory groups favor prohibiting their being located in storefronts.

Sewer lines to be replaced

A presentation was also given at the meeting by city representatives detailing the Sewer Group 716 project to replace approximately 10,035 linear feet of aging concrete sewer mains in an area bounded by Torrey Pines Road and Pearl Street on the north and south, and Lookout Drive and High Avenue on the east and west. Commencing in June 2010, construction at a cost of $4.8 million is expected to take 13 months to complete.