The Coast News Group
Plans to demolish the 60-year-old lifeguard tower on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas will go before the Planning Commission this week. File photo
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Lifeguard tower to go before Planning Commission

ENCINITAS — The planned $3 million Moonlight Beach lifeguard tower is going before the Encinitas Planning Commission Thursday for permit approval.

The plans call for the city to demolish the 60-year-old tower and replace it with a 2,200-square-foot facility that officials said should serve as the hub for city marine operations for the next 50 years.

If approved, construction is expected to start in October, barring any appeals or other issues, and could be open as early as April 2017.

City staff recently made some changes to the plans for the project after receiving a consultant report that said the structure was vulnerable to sea level rise.

In response to the report, staff changed the design to make the first floor of the facility “floodable” by storing electronics and other sensitive instruments on the top floor. They also designed a foundation of drilled cast-in-place concrete piers connected with grade beams, which will limit the amount of sand that will be carved from the building’s base due to wave movement, and incorporated a scour depth of -2 feet into the building foundation design.

The current lifeguard tower serves 3.5 miles of coastline with 3.1 million annual visitors. The city approved the use of bonds to finance the construction of the lifeguard tower, which will replace the current one at Moonlight Beach that is in poor shape and city officials said has been outgrown by marine services.