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Police to increase holiday Shores presence

Although they say they are not anticipating problems, police plan to beef up coverage and staff a command post at La Jolla Shores on the Fourth of July weekend.

Lt. Jim Filley told those attending last week’s La Jolla Shores Association meeting that “Fourth of July is a very busy weekend and we anticipate accommodating between 1 million and 1.5 million people coming to our beach areas.”

Because the holiday is on a Saturday this year, Filley said increased police coverage will begin at 7 a.m. on July 3.

“We’re not anticipating problems other than crowds, but if we do we’ll have boots on the ground to deal with it,” Filley said.

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Enforcement will be “pretty strict,” he said, cautioning people not to speed, drive recklessly or drink alcohol on the beach.

Jim Heaton, chairman of the association board, said in the past there have been problems on the holiday weekend with people illegally setting up tents on the beach.

“They’ve set them up as if it was a campground,” he said.

Filley said regulations prohibit temporary structures covered on all four sides from being on the beach and that police would watch for violators.

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Police said they recently responded to the Shores to assist lifeguards who were dealing with the report of a stolen cell phone and the presence of a group of individuals who appeared to be in a gang. Residents said at least 20 police cars were there, although police said there was only one arrest and no major disturbance.

In other Shores Association action:

  • Mary Coaley, who heads the Parks and Beaches Committee, reported about a glitch with access to the refurbished playground area.

“We have a problem with the slope for the approach from the boardwalk,” she said. “City contractors and surveyors are coming back out to figure out what to do about it. We’re still hoping to get it (playground) open as soon as possible.”

  • The group also voted to oppose plans by the French American School to raise the total population from 320 to 640 allowed for all three schools - along with La Jolla Preschool Academy and Montessori School of La Jolla - on the 9-acre campus at 6550 Soledad Mountain Road.

Though the school site isn’t physically located in the Shores plan area, board members said they were concerned because access to the schools is through the Throat intersection so Shores traffic is impacted, and would be even more so with increased student enrollment.

They said more coordination between the three schools is needed to stagger school hours so that traffic congestion during pick-up and drop-off times for students is alleviated.

  • Heaton reported on repeated calls to prohibit motorized watercraft such as Jet Skis from being launched, mainly due to public safety concerns.

“The consensus is we don’t want commercial craft there,” he said. “Right now there’s nothing on the books that permits any business, if it gets a permit, from launching off the boat ramp. Commercial operations, that’s where the sheer numbers would come from.”
Board member John Metzger, a Shores kayak operator, noted it’s probably more realistic to try and ban commercialized personal watercraft than private watercraft.