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The work planned by Scripps includes drilling 80-feet boreholes into the parking lot in addition to installing short- and long-term monitoring equipment. File photo
Beacon's Beach in Leucadia. File photo/The Coast News
Community CommentaryOpinion

Letter: Beacon’s Beach alert

I am writing to inform the users of Beacon’s Beach about the City of Encinitas’ plan to completely remove and relocate the Beacon’s Beach parking lot. 

The lot is to be moved 7 to 10 feet easterly, away from the top of the bluff. The city contends this must be done for public safety reasons due to the parking lot potentially failing at some unknown future date. 

The project will result in the loss of 11 parking spaces (from 26 to 15) and will narrow the interior travel lane so that if one car stops, traffic will be blocked.

It’s my belief the parking lot should be preserved and protected as it currently exists for as long as possible.  Relocating the lot will create a new area of exposed land between the new proposed sidewalk and existing bluff top. 

I have no confidence that the city is capable of maintaining and protecting the new area of exposed bluff top land, and consequently erosion will actually be increased and the beach trail put at further risk. 

An inspection of the existing condition of the asphalt and, in particular, the northern sidewalk area bear witness to the city’s poor maintenance practices. The impermeable concrete surface of the existing sidewalk actually protects the bluff top from erosion. 

The existing parking lot’s configuration has not changed over the last 45 years, so why is this suddenly a priority? Because something that might happen? 

Given the city’s poor maintenance history, moving the lot landward will only expose more irreplaceable oceanfront public property to improper maintenance, erosion and land loss down the slope, moving us one step closer to losing our beach. 

Proponents of the project cite the existence of a so-called “estimated failure plane” which, they say, runs through the lot from north to south. 

I’d argue that this failure plane, which has only been roughly located, has always existed and has yet to show any significant movement. Preserving the trail to the beach is the real problem, yet there is nothing within the scope of the project which addresses this vital issue. 

What good is a parking lot without a way to get to the beach? You don’t have to be an expert to know the beach trail is going to fail before the parking lot and when that happens, the city will, once again, fence off the entire area. 

Tax dollars could be better spent stabilizing the beach trail and bluff.

The loss of 11 parking spaces will have a major impact on beachgoers, causing even more neighborhood congestion in an area which is already severely impacted by parking issues. 

Several members of the City Council believe that everyone should just ride their bikes or walk to the beach, which is fine for people living nearby. However, the majority of residents and visitors, including elderly, disabled and family groups, will have to continue to drive and park.

As stewards of this public land, we should fight as hard as possible to preserve the existing parking lot, and demand responsible management of this coastal resource through proper beach access trail maintenance and bluff stabilization.

Several concerned citizens, myself included, have appealed the proposed project to the California Coastal Commission (Appeal: A-6-ENC-23-0024). 

A hearing date is set for Feb. 7 in Oceanside and staff is still accepting public comments. This is your last chance to voice your opinion. 

Mike Conway

Encinitas   

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