Neighbors near Forward, Midway, Moss Lane, Chelsea Place and Bird Rock Avenue turned out at Bird Rock Community Council’s (BRCC) November meeting to complain about unsightly, neglected ocean overlooks at the end of those streets.
“Several residents here tonight are concerned about the coastal overlooks, primarily the trash,” said local resident Don Schmidt of La Jolla Historical Society, who has been making the rounds of community groups speaking for neighbors about the deteriorating condition of overlooks.
Schmidt distributed recent photographs taken of trash-strewn coastal overlooks.
“It’s become embarrassing,” he said. “It looks like a third-world country.”
A letter was read from former BRCC president Joe LaCava supporting quick resolution of the problem.
“It would make a huge difference if the city could bring back community trash receptacles, large round cement containers that were used at the overlooks,” LaCava’s letter said.
“Some public services had to be cut four years ago,” said Erin Demorest of District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lighter’s office. “The goal has been to gradually restore those services.”
Demorest added broken fencing at the Forward Street coastal overlook is in the process of being replaced with custom railing.
“That’s going to be done by the end of November,” Demorest said, adding money derived from Seahaus developer fees has been set aside for Midway bluff repairs.
“The city has contributed $60,000 to do that whole project out of a city deferred capital bond,” Demorest said. “That bond is expected to go out early in 2014.”
The enhanced Midway Bluff project will entail a coastal overlook area, possibly with some benches.
“If we were able to fund trash collection out of the MAD (Maintenance Assessment District) budget, could the city collect the trash cans?” asked BRCC president Jacqueline Bell.
“My understanding is we do have some trash cans available,” said Demorest. “It’s the collection of the trash cans that’s going to be the issue.”
Bell said collection was not in BRCC’s current budget, and the group would have to look into the cost.
“We’re required to follow the budget we’ve submitted to the city to the letter,” said Barbara Dunbar, the BRCC board member who administers the group’s MAD.
Others in attendance wondered how much work it would actually take to clear the overlooks.
“It seems like such a small item. How many minutes a day would it take someone to do this (trash pickup)?” asked local resident Mike Costello.
Another concerned resident said there ought to be “some flexibility built into the contract” the MAD has with the city to alter it to allow coastal overlook trash collection.
Schmidt said he’d be willing to form and participate in an ad hoc committee with the goal of arranging for overlook trash pickup.
Dunbar said she’d investigate the possibility of having the MAD do trash pickup at ocean overlooks and get back to the board with her results at the group’s next meeting in February after the holiday break.
BRCC meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Meeting locations are announced on the advisory group’s website at www.birdrockcc.org.