La Jolla’s seal case hearing moves to Nov. 13


A Nov. 13 court date has been set in the courtroom of the judge who has taken over the Children’s Pool seals lawsuit and the city staff has been told to redo environmental documents for proposed sand dredging of the pool.

When Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor was named to replace Judge Yuri Hofmann, the planned Oct. 6 hearing when the city attorney was to give an update on progress on environmental planning for pool sand dredging had to be moved. Hofmann had also been set to reconsider his previous order to disperse seals from the pool.

The hearing is now set for 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 72 at the downtown courthouse.

Even with the date change, though, the city staff won’t be ready with a new environmental report on the dredging by the Nov. 13 hearing since the City Council voted Sept. 22 not to certify what had been called the final impact report, saying it did not include input from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Councilwoman Donna Frye, who made the motion on the report, called it inadequate and noted, among other things, it didn’t address the potential of the pool’s being turned into a marine mammal park as spelled out in SB 428, signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger recently, which is to take effect Jan. 1.

The council also denied coastal development and site development permits for the project. As a result of the votes, they did not vote on moving ahead with dredging.

Allison Sherwood, a city senior planner, said Monday, “Our next step is to go back to the (new) judge on Nov. 13 with our progress.”

In the meantime, staff members will meet with their Army Corps counterparts to discuss collaboration. Putting together a combined environmental review “is going to take a lot longer” than Nov. 13 to complete, Sherwood said.