In July, La Jolla Town Council heard about renewed problems with oversaturation in the Beach-Barber Tract, as well as getting a report on the status of outdoor dining.
Named after Phillip Barber, an heir to a steamship fortune, Beach-Barber Tract was established in the early 1920s. The coastal La Jolla neighborhood includes Windansea Beach and features a wide-ranging mix of home styles from English-style cottages to exquisite oceanfront residences valued between $950,000 and $29 million. Many longtime BBT residents have preserved the architectural integrity of their homes.
Introducing Michael Cole, president of the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association, La Jolla Town Council president Ann Kerr Bache thanked association members. “They’ve been on the front lines fighting for public safety and against alcohol and drugs on the beach as well as parking problems,” she said.
AN ‘IMPERFECT’ STORM
“It feels like they all showed up here on our beaches,” said association president Cole, referring to District 1 staffer Steve Hadley’s comment that local university students were leaving their campuses.
Pointing out the 30-year-old association continues to fight for neighbor’s interests, Cole said, “We have several small, secluded beaches with no public parking. So the visitors who come here park along our few, narrow streets. Every summer we have an influx of beachgoers. But this year has been absolutely crazy.”
Added Cole: “It’s just been a perfect storm following the lockdown. It’s felt like a tsunami. Parking and traffic congestion has become a nightmare. We’re having the most pronounced problems around the beaches at Marine Street and Sea Lane.”
Another association member, Dorie Defranco, noted BBT beaches are hard to patrol because they’re secluded.
“Often you can’t see someone until you walk down the ramp to the sand. It makes it very challenging to patrol the beaches,” she said. “Some visitors come to the beach because they don’t want to be seen because they’re doing things they shouldn’t.”
Noting BBT beaches were reopened June 8, Defranco said, “On June 9 there were thousands of visitors to our beaches, which became party beaches. We saw an increase in underage alcohol use, an increase in trash and congestion on streets and sidewalks, public urination, graffiti, and illegal beach fires at night.”
“There needs to be some consistency moving forward,” argued Town Council trustee and association member Tony Harris on handling Barber Tract’s overcrowding. “There’s a lot of foot traffic and ingress and egress is very tight. How do you handle such an influx of people and vehicles into a neighborhood moving forward?”
“There were no lifeguards or beach patrols for a while and there was a lot of underage drinking and drugs being sold in a culvert by White Sands (retirement community),” said chair Kerr Bache. “With (past District 1 Councilmember) Sherry Lightner’s help we got lifeguards and patrols. And once lifeguards began citing minors in possession (of alcohol), which affects their college applications and delays their getting their driver’s licenses for a year, that problem went away.”
In response to creating outdoor dining for restaurants due to COVID, Jerri Hunt told LJTC, “There are multiple roadblocks to closing streets down, and we don’t have the same density that they have in Little Italy or La Jolla Shores, to justify closing Girard for just a few restaurants.
"And although the mayor has waived permit fees, there’s still liability insurance required (for outdoor dining). But there’s still the opportunity to expand onto the sidewalks and into open parking lots as well as parklets. We’re exploring opportunities to assist where we can.”