Parks & Beaches board hears project updates, bylaw concerns
At its monthly meeting Sept. 28, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJPB) board discussed and voted on a minor change to the Children’s Pool Walk project, voted (kind of) on a tree removal and re-vegetation project, and introduced a discussion to change its bylaws. An advisory group covering its namesake parks and beaches, LJPb makes recommendations to the San Diego Park & recreation Department and other applicable advisory committees, and may fundraise to cover projects within their jurisdiction.
Children’s Pool Walk
The Children’s Pool Walk beautification project (aka coast Walk beautification project), spearheaded by LJPB member Phyllis Minick, will spruce up the walking area above children’s Pool after construction on the adjacent lifeguard tower is complete this winter. Hopeful to start construction in summer 2016, landscape architect Jim Neri presented a minor change to the plans. “What we have is a project that expands
upon the lifeguard tower improvements, and (enhances) that whole plaza area,” he said. “We took the area the city was not improving around the lifeguard tower and said ‘How can we make this better for the people of La Jolla and those who visit there?’ ”
Project components include widening and restructuring the walking paths, creating seating areas, planting drought tolerant shrubbery, improving water runoff, and more.
When the plan was originally presented and approved, one component was to expand the fencing to the edge of the bluff to open up more space and provide more scenic viewpoints.
“It turns out nature had other ideas, as there has been some erosion in that area, so it’s no longer suitable to extend the fence,” Neri said, and he requested board approval to remove the fencing extension from the plan. LJPB voted unanimously to support the revised plans.
From here, project architects and engineers will produce a plan to present to the city. Neri said it would likely take three months to review, at which point he can complete final drawings and crews can begin construction.
He added that the plan is to work during the summer, before the start of the 2016 seal pupping season in December, and he would request a waiver to the summer construction moratorium at that time. The project was funded through private and city contributions.
Tree removal and re-vegetation
A project to remove a cluster of eucalyptus trees near the 7000 block of Brodiaea Way, off Encelia Drive in La Jolla Heights Natural Park returned to LJPb, after pinballing around to other advisory groups. Although the LJPb board took two votes on the issue, one in favor and one against, neither passed.
Originally presented at the August LJPB meeting by Claude-Anthony Marengo of Marengo Morton Architects, the project would remove 10 eucalyptus trees adjacent to a home rebuild and re-vegetate the area with native plants. removing the trees, which are highly flammable and not native to the area, would prevent an increase in the cost of fire insurance for the homeowner. Because Marengo did not have a list of proposed plant replacements, LJPB declined to vote in August.
Marengo also presented to La Jolla community Planning Association (LJCPA) in September, which voted to let LJPB hear the item again before making a recommendation, and to city staff, which favored the removal in the interest of stabilizing the hillside.
At the LJPB and LJCPA presentations, suggestions for replacement trees – such as Torrey Pine and Coastal Live Oak – were raised and brought to the city. Marengo reported those suggested required more extensive maintenance than the city was ready to provide. “We’re on board to supply, re-vegetate, control the erosion and temporarily water (to establish the plants), but the city couldn’t commit to longer maintenance,” he said. Marengo did not have other replacement plants to report.
Adding to concerns that LJPB did not know which trees or shrub would replace the eucalyptus, members expressed concern over the precedent it might set to remove trees in parks for private benefit. A motion to deny the requested tree removal failed, 4-5-3.
conversely, members expressed support for the project because the trees are non-native and their removal would open up the view. but a motion to support the project also failed, 4-5-3.
Marengo said he would proceed to the city, reporting the split results.
A change in bylaws?
reviewing the variety of projects under the LJPB umbrella, community member Karl Zobell questioned the board’s jurisdiction, leading to a discussion about revising its bylaws.
“In looking at the agendas, it appears that about a quarter of what comes up is (related to) parks and beaches, the rest is not. There is an ambiguity ... and the bylaws could be altered to make it clearer as to what is within the jurisdiction of this organization,” he said.
Zobell noted the children’s Pool Walk, as well as the Whale View Point Shoreline enhancement Project and plans to investigate the feasibility of adding more parking to coast Walk (Zobell was a resident of coast Walk) — all of which would technically fall under the city of San Diego Streets Division. Other beach-related topics often discussed at LJPb include signage in parks, La Jolla cove restroom renovation, Marine Protected Areas and the Torrey Pines road view corridor.
LJPb chair Dan Allen said there was a brief officer’s meeting to cover these concerns and address the bylaws. He said he plans to speak with the Park & Rec Department about changing the bylaws and is hopeful to have a suggested course of action by the end of the year.
In other LJPB news
Board adds Brady
After Rebecca Morales stepped down from her spot on the board last month, Tom Brady was selected to fill the vacancy. Brady is also a member of the Traffic & Transportation advisory board and La Jolla community Planning Association. community members become eligible for candidacy after attending three LJPB meetings in a row.
Bike committee forming
A LJPB subcommittee is forming to make La Jolla more bicycle friendly, including enhancements to the Fay Avenue Bike Path. Those interested can attend the next LJPB meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26 at La Jolla Rec center, 615 Propsect St. or contact Stuart via lajollaparksandbeaches@ gmail.com