Locals get first look at new Law Street lifeguard tower
Published - 07/27/15 - 06:19 PM | 7417 views | 7 7 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An artist's rendering of preliminary design plans for a new lifeguard tower in North Pacific Beach off Law Street.
An artist's rendering of preliminary design plans for a new lifeguard tower in North Pacific Beach off Law Street.
Residents got their first glimpse at preliminary design plans for a new lifeguard tower in North Pacific Beach off Law Street at a July 16 Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) subcommittee meeting.

But some residents nearby continue to insist plans for the new tower are more than the community expected – or needs.

Scott Chipman, chair of the North Pacific Beach lifeguard tower subcommittee, told neighbors there have now been four meetings since 2012 to publicly vet the project.

“We determined two potential sites, and the subcommittee voted to approve the coastal canyon location (off Law Street),” Chipman said, adding the group “provided some design suggestions” and received community input with “almost none in favor of the project.”

Chipman noted that lifeguards “established the facility’s shape, size and type.”

Alternative locations on the sand at the beach and further north than the proposed site were considered but rejected.

The subcommittee chair said the purpose of the July 16 meeting was not to debate the need for a lifeguard tower or its location.

“If you are in opposition … you should be going to Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s office or the City Council’s Public Safety or Natural Resources committees,” Chipman said.

Jihad Sleiman, an engineer with the city’s Public Works Department, led a team of city officials who gave a brief slideshow presentation on the new proposed lifeguard tower.

“Once we received a favorable vote for this location, we took all your input and ideas seriously,” said Sleiman.

Subcommittee guests were told by city officials that the building had to be large enough to serve lifeguard’s needs, that a storm drain on the site diverting rain runoff from Law Street had to be relocated, and that there had to be beach access provided from Law Street where the new bathrooms are located.

Project architects noted the new lifeguard building has a second floor and an observation tower. They said the building is to be “tucked into the canyon as much as possible” while attempting to “blend the building’s structure in with the rocks and bluffs.”

Project architects added everything possible has been done to minimize view impacts from the new building noting the goal is to “make it (building) disappear.”

Subcommittee planner Chris Olson suggested more needs to be done, aesthetically and practically, to enhance the entryway from Law Street down to the beach and the new tower. He pointed out this spot is at the end of the boardwalk and is heavily used by people in their cars, riding bikes or walking to the beach.

“That entrance is not very inviting,” Olson said. “We could maybe put in some benches, lighting or interpretive signage.”

PBPG chair and subcommittee member Brian Curry concurred.

“I like the idea of making the entrance as visible as possible,” Curry said.

From the audience, one longtime neighbor commented, “I don’t think it’s necessary to make this giant place to park vehicles.”

It was suggested that story poles be put up on the new station site so that people can actually see how much the view will be affected.

Other neighbors expressed their fear that the new tower would bring traffic congestion and more problems with parking. One woman said she felt that anticipated sea level rise from global warming hadn’t been accounted for in planning for the new beach structure.

Chipman noted the California Coastal Commission and, ultimately, the San Diego City Council, will both have to sign-off on the location – and design – of the new North Pacific Beach lifeguard tower.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Another PB Local
September 28, 2017
Ok, i see the argument that there may not be a great need for this, and that it may be a misappropriation of tax payer money, but let's stop pretending this is going to cause any worse traffic congestion than already exists in the area. We're not going to have tourists flocking to a lifeguard station... Lifeguards who service this area (I know several) are already parking and using the same space. And increase in crime?! Come on people... we're literally building a station for the enforcers against crime on beaches... be real!

I understand not wanting to "taint the natural beauty" but let's not just spout any argument that coincides with your wishes for the space.
August 01, 2015
This construction of this project will destroy the beauty of our beach, create traffic, crime, and attract homeless to our neighborhood.

Help us stop this plan : http://ProtectPB.org

The construction of this lifeguard command center is NOT a solution. This ~$7 Million dollar 3563'sq/ft construction in a tidal zone will just create more problems for our community, and will attract many unsavory elements North to our neighborhood.

Yet the governmental agencies backing this project have offered no awareness of these issues, nor offered any solutions for them.

We need your help disputing the issuance of a Site Development Permit, so our community's concerns can be addressed.

This matter will be taken to the City Council, and we need your help! We need to educate our neighbors, and the public regarding the proposed construction of this administrative & storage facility in our residential neighborhood, and on our beach.

Please educate others!

Find out more about the issues here: http://ProtectPB.org

August 03, 2015
Just another PB NIMBY. This is why local planning groups are a joke and real issues get decided at a City wide level. Locals think they own their community instead of looking at it from a City wide perspective. If the life guards say they need a tower here for public safety then they probably do. The same nameless fools that started protectPB.org are the people that post on nextdoor.com when there are African Americans walking down their street. They oppose change just because it is change. You don't own the beach and their is no educational value to your site.
August 03, 2015
So name calling is totally the best way to handle this, thanks for your thoughts StopWhiningSD . . .

How about we just address the issues.

This is not just about locals, this is about what's best for the whole community.If the need for this station half a mile from the Grand Ave one is so great, then it will be heard. We feel differently, and have different priorities.

There is no proven need for a station this large. Lifeguards have straight up said they have no data, or rise in rescues. We feel this plan suits the lifeguards, but ignores the community. This isn't a proper solution, it will create many issues that have yet to be addressed, and the plan has offered no awareness of these issues, nor offered any solutions for them.

Crime fell in San Diego, but rose 14% in Pacific Beach. But when we call police, we get a busy signal.


The construction of the Palisades Park Comfort Station has exponentially increased the amount of crime and homeless in or neighborhood. We now have known heroin addicts, and homeless living in restroom stalls right in our community, they use it like a hotel, and lock themselves in there, and drug addicts have recently died there as well . . . No thanks!

All due to this one new construction. Drug deals are going on, homeless are doing their laundry, people gather at night and smoke & party.


Police said they know about this place, but unless they staff an officer there all night, the problem will continue.

This current plan has done no impact studies, or environmental studies.

They have no no employee parking, and not addressed traffic & congestion, or other issues in the area, such as beach use, erosion, boardwalk, drop off. . .

and so much more : http://ProtectPB.org

But that's all cool with you StopWhiningSD right?

July 31, 2015
Not "first look" and your press photo is deceiving, like the latest architects plans...locals have been resisting any development on this north pb coast, since 2004, the ocean of which has been designated a local rpreserve from The Point to Diamond St....so why the big para-military LG push to implant a parking / storage/ administrative facility in a unique coastal canyon? We are destroying the beach and the coastal life, and the unique so cal species, grunion, with all the driving of lifeguard trucks and bulldozers on the beach for the neutering of the beach for tourists, and $7million dollars of concrete in a run off canyon to the sea? when the dry sand beach at high tide is two towel lengths wide?

If you care about the imminent destruction of the beach canyon site we have locally called "the amphitheater" for decades, please

Check out the local resistant website and petition on change.org to protect this canyon from development :


Thank you for adding your voice to the preservation of one of our last natural beach canyons in the increasingly sold out and developed Southern California coasts.

Thank you very much.

La Beach

August 03, 2015
Labeach, you are a little bitch. Fuck your petition and beach canyon.
July 29, 2015
This Scott Chipman is the worst. he needsto get a day job.I guess he's given up harassing local bars.They have a tower subcommitte? BTW we don't need a tower. how about more showers and pave the path.
Comments are back! Simply post the comment (it'll complain about you failing the human test) then simply click on the captcha and then click "Post Comment" again. Comments are also welcome on our Facebook page.