LJ Parks and Beaches committee talk public restrooms, lift stations
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 03/10/17 - 01:59 PM | 1800 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. overwhelmingly approved updated plans for the Scripps Park Pavilion/Comfort Station, while sanctioning, in principal, a full-blown environmental study for the 3.1-million-gallon La Jolla Reservoir project in La Jolla Heights Natural Park.

On Feb. 27, new LJPB chair Ann Dynes took over for outgoing chair Dan Allen. Dynes cited Allen for his “incredible dedication,” which drew applause and a standing ovation.

The La Jolla Cove Pavilion is a long-term project to replace outdated and deteriorating restroom-shower facilities with an attractive, sustainable pavilion honoring the beauty of the Cove and Scripps Park.

Previously, the parks advisory group expressed concern about the Pavilion project's needing to be “right-sized” — large enough to accommodate all users including swimmers and divers, but small enough to maximize ocean views obscured by existing restroom facilities.

City staffer Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols and architect Bill Magnuson of Mosher Drew Architects in La Jolla gave a slideshow presentation detailing how Safdie Rabines Architects' original pavilion design has been tweaked to accommodate LJPB and resident's concerns.

The comfort station's design has been modified to allow “a kiosk for a park ranger or something,” Schroth-Nichols said. She added the project will demolish the existing comfort station and build a new one.

“Currently a pump station exists within the comfort station that services the bridge club and the comfort station,” Schroth-Nichols said after the LJPB meeting. “The new comfort station will be designed such that it will feed gravity to the street, eliminating the need for a pump station.”

With the elimination of the existing pump station, Schroth-Nichols added that a lift station will be designed to service only the bridge club. “Our lift station designers will first be determining whether the bridge club can feed to the street via gravity,” she said. “If not, a lift station will be designed.”

LJPB board member Bill Robbins noted there have been serious problems at La Jolla public restrooms with people “flushing beach towels” and other inappropriate items down toilets causing sewage backups.

“If you don't have some way to get those kind of things shredded before it gets to the main — we're in trouble,” Robbins said.

Schroth-Nichols said the city has learned from its previous mistakes, contending the proposed comfort station will function effectively.

Magnuson noted “the two wings of the comfort station are almost two separate buildings. We're planning for trees to be there and wheelchair-accessible stalls.”

“People asked for family toilet rooms and we've got them,” continued Magnuson.

The city's maintained existing huge trees on-site need to be removed due to old age and problems presented by their invasive roots.

Parks board members Dr. Jane Reldan and Melinda Merryweather advocated the need for maintaining appropriately large-sized trees around the comfort station.

“People use the shade a lot,” noted Reldan.

“Trees take forever to grow,” pointed out Merryweather, asking, “What size are the trees going to be?”

City engineer George Freiha responded he was uncertain of the exact size, but suggested trees be planted would likely be mid-sized.

La Jolla park reservoir project

LJPB board member Patrick Ahern gave a slideshow presentation on the La Jolla Heights Natural Park Reservoir Project, which will demolish two existing reservoirs and build a new, larger 3.1-million-gallon reservoir in the park, returning all affected areas to their natural state planting native species once work is done.

Ahern noted the project will take at least two years to complete, from 2018 to 2020. He pointed out the project will displace tons of dirt with scores of trucks going in and out daily on Torrey Pines Road and Country Club Drive disrupting traffic flow causing a hardship for neighbors.

“We have some issues with that,” Ahern said. “This park is a natural asset, a very special place. A lot of issues need to be addressed, including the significant (environmental) impacts on this hillside.”

Former San Diego city manager and La Jollan Jack McCrory, from the audience, concurred with Ahern's assessment.

“It's appropriate to ask them (city) to go through a full environmental impact report to mitigate the impacts of this project,” McCrory said. “This is going to close that park for two years, put trucks hauling dirt on that road closing down one lane, and impact all of the homes in the area. Those impacts have to be discussed and analyzed.”

After LJPB's February meeting, La Jolla Town Council called a public forum to vet the La Jolla Reservoir and La Jolla Heights Park issues set for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 9 at La Jolla Rec Center. Following the forum, LJTC was expected to consider a motion to support LJPB's request for an EIR for the proposed reservoir project.
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