By Sub-Committee / Special to San Diego Free Press
Sub-Committee Report # 4: For the moment, city plans to develop the coastal cliff beach at Law St. in North Pacific Beach, with another new live-in lifeguard tower and garages, have met with an equally divided planning board, 7-7, with the tie vote cast by the board president, in a heated debate at the last PB Planning Board meeting, July 25, 2012, at the PB library community room.
Planning Board members, trying to balance the needs of the lifeguards and public safety, and city contractor jobs, with the obvious coastal erosion and rising ocean level concerns evident at this beach, decided to delay consideration of this project until more information can be provided. Questions as to the true nature and need of the project before a site could be chosen were at the forefront of the dilemma.
Cliff erosion is a serious growing problem in this sector, and the assurances of the city team of designers, and lifeguards, that any structural problems can be handled by engineers once a site is chosen, did not seem to reassure everyone on the planning board. Criticism for the lack of promised updates from the city designers concerning another current project in the same sector (re-modeling the toilets on the cliff at Palisades Park) scheduled to start this fall, was also expressed.
Planning Board members proposed building parking garages for the lifeguard emergency vehicles and equipment at the already developed Tourmaline St. beach parking lot, where much of the rescue activity is located due to year round surfing accidents, and low impact temporary buildings for sufficient lifeguard comfort and first aid necessity for the tourist season at the proposed site, somewhere south of the Law St. entrance. Other sites, between Missouri and Chalcedony Streets were also discussed. The purchase by the city of an existing condo on the cliff for lifeguard dressing rooms and kitchen/break room and storage was also suggested. The original site, at the foot of Diamond St., adopted by the city council in 2002 at the height of beach attendance impact before the alcohol ban, is deemed by the lifeguards to be inappropriate at this time because of a shift north in the location of the swim zone and distance from the Tourmaline St. surf zone.
Public comment included distress at cementing the beach with unsightly permanent buildings, the proposed height (30ft.) of the tower blocking public views, the cost ($5million), and the diminishing beach attendance since the beach alcohol ban in 2008.
City designers have taken note of the board’s suggestions and will re-convene with more information at a future date.
The Pacific Beach Planning Board, as a last item, also expressed concern about the proliferation and diversification of multiple organizations in the Pacific Beach area to manage local projects, especially the lack of information sharing and representation among these different groups. Discover PB and the Planning Group declared being in the process of developing new websites for best community workability and co-operation.
Thank you to all the volunteers on committees who work to help our community interface with our city.
Sub-Committee is the nom de plume of a PB activist.