City shuts the gate on Pottery Canyon revitalization in La Jolla

A proposal for the revitalization of Pottery Canyon Park, made by La Jolla Parks & Beaches, has been rejected by City staff.

There will be no revitalization of Pottery Canyon Natural Park in the foreseeable future. A recommendation made by the La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory board — in response to a City request for recommendations of community areas that could be made into public parks — has been rejected by the City.

“Due to the exceptional habitat value of the site, potential for environmental damage if the site is further developed, and proximity to private property, the parcel is not suitable for additional park development beyond its current preserved state as a part of the open space system,” City Parks & Recreation Department acting director Andrew Field wrote to LJP&B on Dec. 11.

Field’s letter replied to one sent July 10 by LJP&B president Ann Dynes, which read in part: “Ideally sized at 18.28 acres, proper use of this land would not require any purchase or eminent domain, as it is already listed in San Diego Park Inventory. If properly maintained, this land would give us more parkland to enjoy.”

The Pottery Canyon open space — 3034 Torrey Pines Road — is named for the pottery-making company operating there from 1928 to the 1970s, run by the Rodriguez brothers. (The family’s pottery kiln still remains in a state of disrepair on private property near the public open space.) The open space is accessed by a 0.2-mile paved road with a metal gate that is opened and closed — often by residents — near Torrey Pines Road. Both sides of the paved road are fenced off and marked private property.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park is named for the pottery business operated by the Rodriguez Brothers, who lived and wroked at 3034 Torrey Pines Road from 1928 to the 1970s.

Dynes’ letter requested the parcel’s consideration for capital investment and development, in addition to the removal of dead trees, the manicuring of vegetation and the installation of benches.

Field’s reply did not address the beautification requests, stating only: “City staff will continue to maintain Pottery Canyon as a passive open space park and habitat area as funding allows.”

When the Light asked Dynes for her thoughts on the City’s reply, her reaction was surprising: She now agrees with the City’s stance.

“This is not only sensitive habitat, but sufficiently steep, and it is not well-suited to park development,” Dynes wrote in an e-mail. “Speaking just for myself, since there may be LJPB members who see this differently, I am first very appreciative that the City spent the time to respond thoughtfully to our members’ request as it takes precious resources to dignify community requests like this.

“And thanks to (La Jolla resident) Kurt Hoffman, I have recently walked up the canyon and understand it better,” she wrote.