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Permits questioned

Board seeks answers over surf camps

La Jolla Shores Association’s board is requesting that the city of San Diego divulge its reasoning for cutting the number of Shores’ surf camps from five to four last year.

But the community advisory group stopped short of granting a request by one of its own members to ask the city to reinstate the fifth surf camp to benefit his business.

At its July meeting, the board also heard testimony from neighbors adamantly opposing a suggestion that a Shores beach traffic triangle be redeveloped to allow for vehicular pickup, including buses.

Neighbors who live near the exit to the Kellogg Park parking lot at El Paseo Grande and Camino Del Oro argued that the plan would hurt their neighborhood and disturb traffic circulation.

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Anitra Wirtz and Patrick Mower said that changing the triangle would limit ocean views, create noise and displace traffic - and people - causing a nuisance.

“We’re on the front lines with people being dropped off in my driveway,” Wirtz said. “This will bring it all really close to us.”

‘Just an idea’

“It’s not a proposal, just an idea,” LJSA board member Mary Coakley noted.

“That area right now is not an enhancement,” Chairman Jim Heaton said. “We’re interested in potentially improving the situation, doing something about the triangle that would benefit everyone.”

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After another neighbor presented a counterproposal to rectify the parking situation at the parking lot, the matter was deferred until the group’s next meeting on Sept. 9.

Discussion over the surf camp permits dominated much of the rest of the meeting. Darren Fulhorst of Menehune Surf and Oceangirl surf schools, also an association board member, alleges that the city’s process for allotting surf camp permits among San Diego coastal operators is preferential and should be reconsidered.

Changed in 2008

In introductory remarks, Fulhorst noted that the city of San Diego in 2005 issued its first request for proposals for surf instruction at La Jolla Shores, awarding Menehune Surf and his competitor Surf Diva each two sites in the Shores. He claims a fifth site was created after the process especially for Surf Diva’s benefit.

In 2008, when the permits came up for renewal, the city awarded Menehune only one of four surf sites available, giving the other three to Surf Diva.

Fulhorst’s request that the board endorse re-creating a fifth site to compensate him, however, met with a mostly cool reception.

“We are on a slippery slope being asked to support a given business in La Jolla Shores,” Heaton said. “This board has never done that.”

Before the debate started, Fulhorst and two other LJSA board members - Caroline “Coco” Tihanyi, co-owner of Surf Diva, and Sharon Luscomb of La Jolla Kayak - were asked to recuse themselves from the debate because of conflicting business interests. The trio left the room for the entirety of the debate, but returned at the end to vote.

Board member David Laney said he wasn’t concerned with supporting the reinstatement of the fifth Shores surf camp site so much as wanting to ensure that the city is held accountable for revealing why it cut back on the number of camps, decreasing surf opportunities for youths.

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The motion to request the city to be forthcoming with that information was made by board member Ed Furtek. The vote was 12-1 for the motion with Fulhorst dissenting.