Point Loma residents are mulling the creation of a mini park experience to improve the Del Monte Avenue overlook while addressing the sometimes problematic sunset-viewing crowds drawn there.
Mandy Havlik, a Peninsula Community Planning Board member speaking for herself, has been working with Del Monte residents around the overlook on possibly securing City approvals to transform the steep site into a mini park of some kind. Improvements envisioned include benches and landscaping.
“Back in October (2020), we were approached by Gary Pence (City engineer) to review the area about making recommendations to the City about the issue brought up by neighbors about problems with crowds coming out for the sunsets and not necessarily being respectful and making noise and leaving trash,” said Havlik. “We were asked by the City if we wanted to make a recommendation on whether or not to install bollards (a short post used to divert traffic from an area or road) or a barricade of some sort to stop people from parking at that lookout point.”
District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell’s office said it is continuing to work with the community to find a solution to crowd issues at the overlook, as well as exploring enhancing the site both aesthetically and functionally.
“Since August 2020, Josh Coyne, director of policy, has been engaged with City staff and a coalition of Point Loma residents to find the best path forward for this dead-end section of Del Monte Avenue,” said Jordan Beane, District 2 communications/environmental policy advisor. “The community presented the City with short-term and long-term solutions. We have been advocating for and supporting all options to allow this space to have a more positive impact on the community.”
Added Beane: “The complexity of this dead-end, also a City ‘right of way,’ is that it includes an access point to a resident’s personal driveway and home. While we work on a more permanent solution, we thank City staff for their recent work to install no-parking signs to allow the police department more enforcement resources. We look forward to continuing our work with the community on this issue.”
In an email, Coyne noted: “It’s unclear if a pocket park is an option based on this being in the public right of way. We expect those findings to come back in the next 45 days. We will report back when they are available.”
Ocean Beach Planning Board has also reviewed the Del Monte and Guizot overlook and made recommendations as to what planners feel could be done to improve the site and make it more secure.
“We moved to relocate the vehicle barrier 15-feet back and narrow the driveway easement to 10 feet,” said OBPB chair Andrea Schlageter in a letter to the City. “This will allow room for vehicles and more safe space for people to use the space.”
Schlageter added a friendly amendment was made by the planning group to support “adding benches to the site with the intention of that space being maintained as a pocket park.”
Noting OBPB’s recommendations passed narrowly by an 8-7 vote, Schlageter added: “The dissenting votes were from board members who did not want to opine on things that were outside of our planning group. Although, the overall consensus was that we did not like how the bollards are placed. But the community is invested in keeping that an open access to the public.”
Don Sevrens, another Peninsula planner speaking on his own behalf, suggested the overlook is so unique that improving it may require an entirely new designation.
“Pocket park is the wrong term,” he said. “Turning a dead-end street with stairs down to the base of the cliff with possible benches and a few shrubs demands a term of its own with lower expectations. My understanding is that bollards could be moved forward and parking banned on the dead-end portion. One neighbor has an easement to protect his driveway access. But that does not seem to be an issue or threat to his right.”