La Jolla News Nuggets: Post office update, Children’s Pool Lawsuit, Kellogg Park restrooms

Harbor seals line the beach at Children's Pool. Photo: File

Advocates sue city for Children’s Pool access

Advocates for beach access at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla said Oct. 21 they filed a lawsuit challenging the city of San Diego’s decision to prohibit people from venturing onto the sand at the scenic spot beginning Dec. 15.

The Friends of the Children’s Pool filed in San Diego Superior Court in hopes of getting the City Council’s action invalidated before the closure takes effect, Ken Hunrichs, the group’s president, told City News Service.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Bernard King could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month.

The Children’s Pool has been a source of controversy since the early 1990s, when harbor seals began making use of it to give birth to and wean their young. The beach was deeded to the city in 1931 as a safe swimming area for youth.

Prompted by reports that people were mistreating the marine mammals, the City Council in March voted to close the beach from Dec. 15 to May 15, which is pupping season for the seals. The California Coastal Commission gave its stamp of approval two months ago.

A rope barrier is planned at the Children’s Pool the rest of the time to discourage people from harassing seals.

Activists on behalf of the seals say there are perfectly good beaches nearby. Hunrichs, however, said La Jolla residents have made it clear that they want access to the sand at the Children’s Pool. — City News Service

Post office update

Nearly three years ago the USPS announced it planned to relocate retail operations from La Jolla’s historic post office at 1140 Wall St. and sell the building to make up for a cash flow crisis in the quasi-governmental agency.

Earlier this year, Congress inserted a moratorium on the sale of historic post offices in an omnibus appropriations bill until completion of audits on the relocation and sale/disposal of historic post offices (which are now done).

Although the USPS is technically free to again move forward with historic post office sales, Eva Jackson, a communications programs specialist for USPS in San Diego, said USPS has not yet located an alternate site to relocate retail operations from the Wall Street facility and, until it does, won’t move forward with the sale (to be handled by a local office of CBRE commercial real estate).

The USPS is also seeking an alternate site for its annex at 720 Silver St. (just off Draper Avenue). The 10,143 square-foot property, which the USPS has leased since 1975 to sort mail for 40 letter carriers, sold for $6.8 million earlier this year, and will redeveloped as town homes (along with the adjacent property at 7601 Draper Ave., now home to the Animal Hospital of La Jolla, which is in negotiations to lease another space in La Jolla).

USPS’s lease on the annex expires in July 2015. “In the case of the carrier annex, we have the right to ‘holdover,’ which means to stay in the space despite not having a lease,” Jackson said. “We would incur financial penalties which we do not want, so we are actively looking for another location.”

Although USPS has said it is seeking to move its Wall Street retail services to a space within a mile of its current site, Jackson said the letter-carrier annex could be moved outside La Jolla.

Kellogg Park comfort station opening Oct. 30

Friends of La Jolla Shores will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Thursday, Oct. 30, to open the newest restroom at Kellogg Park. The family of the late John G. Watson, who donated the funds to build the facility, will be in attendance from England, as will friends from Hawaii. The facility is located at the north end of Kellogg Park, and will have a surfing etiquette mural.

La Jolla High School plans pass muster

During its Oct. 14 meeting, members of La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee (DPR) approved plans submitted by La Jolla High School to vacate an unused water easement that was once the site of a water main abandoned in 2001.

School officials are seeking to build a concession stand and restroom atop the easement to serve its adjacent sports field. The Division of State Architecture has already approved the building designs.

La Jollan Ed Comartin expressed concern with the location of the concession stand and restroom in relation to a proposed multi-million-dollar biosciences building at La Jolla High, though that project has not yet reached the design phase, it was noted.

“What I’m afraid is that you guys haven’t coordinated,” Comartin said. “You have no idea what they’re doing, and (the school may) end up tearing down what you did.”

The motion that the findings could be made for the easement vacation passed 4-1 with DPR member Jim Ragsdale opposing.