Residents veto night work on Shores utilities


As the most dreaded phases of the Avenida de la Playa Infrastructure Replacement Project began — replacing the sewer and water lines down the middle of the La Jolla Shores main thoroughfare — residents and business owners were still grappling with the hours in which the work should take place, and discussed the issue at the Nov. 12 La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) meeting.

Shores merchants, concerned about the impact to their businesses due to noise and dust, hoped the work could be completed at night. Residents, concerned about a potential lack of sleep, hoped for just the opposite.

Francis Barraza, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s District 1 representative, explained that in an effort to “mitigate the impact on everybody,” the project was split into two portions. The first portion, she said, spans the business-centric 2100 block of Avenida de la Playa (between Camino del Sol and El Paseo Grande), with construction expected to take three months, starting Nov. 16. For this first leg, Steve Lindsay, senior construction engineer for the City of San Diego, said he and his team applied for a permit to work from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., which was granted.

Leading up to the night work application, a survey was sent out to 400 residences within 500 feet of the work zone, seeking input. Of those, 74 responded in favor of night work and 49 opposed.

The second portion would span the two blocks of Avenida de la Playa between El Paseo Grande and La Jolla Shores Drive, where more residents would be impacted, and work would be completed during the day.

It was also announced that the night work permit was granted on the condition that the noise not pose a public nuisance. Should the noise get to be excessive, residents have the option to call the police non-emergency number and report it. If an officer responds, the night work permit would be revoked and work would proceed during the day.

LJSA Chair Tim Lucas encouraged residents to continue to patronize local merchants. “The city has to be able to replace infrastructure ... it could have been handled better, but it has to get done,” he said. “It’s a tough situation and no one is happy with it. But in the meantime, support your local businesses otherwise no one is going to survive this.”

However, several concerned residents who live near the planned night work cited their very recent construction experiences associated with the storm drain replacement on Avenida de la Playa at Camino del Sol — which took place during the day from December 2013 to just this month — as the basis for their objection. Many reported that during construction, their homes would shake as if in an earthquake, and construction noises could not be ignored.

LJSA board member Brandon Price manages an apartment building that abuts the construction zone, and reported that his residents had issues with the daytime work. “I recognize this is a tough situation, but I’ve received multiple notices from my tenants that they are threatening to leave due to the noise during the day,” he said, referencing the storm drain work.

“I’ve had windows break because of the shaking. If you could imagine that happening at 11 o’clock at night, residents are not going to get sleep. I’m taken aback that you got support of any kind from residents for nighttime work.”

Lindsay acknowledged buildings might shake when equipment breaks through the concrete to dig the required trench, which would occur throughout the construction period.

In other LJSA news:

Kayak RFP done, concerns addressed: The latest version of the kayak concessionaires Request for Proposal (RFP) was released this month, and La Jolla Kayak co-owner Sharon Luscomb said many, if not all the community concerns raised during months of feedback-gathering meetings, were addressed. RFPs outline the terms by which recreation companies must abide in order to work on the beach. Many kayak vendors load and unload equipment and offer tours, and therefore need to apply for and follow a RFP agreement.

“I’ve been through all three (previous) RFP cycles and this RFP is entirely different,” she said. “It reflects the concerns brought forth by the community. It requires (for example) off-street parking at night, which was never there before and ‘documentation as to how you plan to minimize customer traffic on the sidewalk’ is in there.

“Addressing every single complaint ... is all part of what operators are being asked to include in their proposals.” Other new components include an annual

review of the RFP and scheduling changes to address the frequency of trucks driving up and down the street with equipment. However, despite the request that a percentage of RFP fees be earmarked for the Shores or for Kellogg Park, all revenue generated by RFP fees will continue to go to the San Diego General Fund.

Map fiasco nears resolution: Friends of La Jolla Shores member Mary Coakley-Munk said an agreement to repair The Map — an educational display representing the canyons and sea life in the ocean at La Jolla Shores — might be reached soon.

“We are in a very good place with The Map, finally after all this time,” she said. “We have a tentative agreement with (contractor) T.B. Penick and we’re awaiting the city’s approval.”

The Map is made of glass beads in various shades of blue, but its laminating surface Lithocrete, installed by T.B. Penick, began to crack soon after the installation in 2008, posing a safety hazard.

Anticipating being able to move forward on their agreement, Friends of La Jolla Shores and supporters gathered Nov. 15 to clean the bronze inset fish and documented their condition so when the Map is repaired, they will be in the same condition.

La Jolla Shores Association next meets: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 10 at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Building T-29, 8840 Biological Grade. E-mail: