YEAR IN REVIEW - Pacific and Mission beaches overcoming pandemic challenges
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 01/07/21 - 07:00 AM | 4426 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed in April due to the pandemic. PHOTO BY JOHN COCOZZA
Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed in April due to the pandemic. PHOTO BY JOHN COCOZZA
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Almost everything in 2020 seemed upside down. Inside was out, outside was in. And nearly everything was done remotely after the coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March, fundamentally altering how we all live, work, and play.

Looking forward to a better, more productive, and fruitful year ahead, Beach & Bay Press looks back one last time at the once-in-a-lifetime-year 2020. We all will remember it for being as transformative and life-changing as it was disruptive and unsettling.

 

JANUARY

 

Scooters Scooted

In January, enforcement began on the prohibition of motorized vehicles, including electric scooters, on Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Shores boardwalks, as well as Mission Bay Park bayside path. The measure had been approved by the City Council by a 5-4 vote in December 2019.  “Keeping these pathways clear ensures the safety of our pedestrians and the livability of our neighborhoods,” said District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell. 

 

‘Felony’ Park

With some labeling it “felony park,” Pacific Beach Town Council launched a petition drive while appealing to the Mission Bay Park Committee to institute a curfew at the popular PB oceanfront park. “Fanuel Park, aka ‘felony park,’ is a total problem area and has become a magnet for crime, much of it happening during the nighttime hours,” said PBTC president Brian White. “Due to the rampant illegal activity being observed by residents, the PB community is seeking a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for Fanuel Street Park.”

 

Mural Winner

BeautifulPB announced Red Dragon Martial Arts at 1603 Garnet Ave. was the winner of a community-wide mural contest. The winning location was selected by a panel of eight of San Diego's top art, building, and urban planning experts. The new mural was to be painted by internationally-renowned artist Aaron Glasson.

 

Market Turns Corner

Unsuccessful initially in relocating the Tuesday Pacific Beach Farmers Market from Bayard Street to Garnet Avenue, the market literally turned the corner expanding its footprint onto Hornblend Street on Jan. 7.

 

Friendlier Boulevard

Pacific Beach Planning Group approved recommendations on how to make Mission Boulevard more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Redesigning Mission Boulevard was proposed to include much broader sidewalks on both its east and west sides and much-improved pedestrian- and bike- crossing facilities east-west across Mission Boulevard. Plans propose roundabouts at every current signaled intersection along Mission Boulevard from PB Drive to Diamond Street.

 

Environmental Milestone

The City of San Diego claimed to have slashed greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent over the past decade – far surpassing the 2020 goal of 15 percent – and conducted the first-ever analysis on climate equity. The City’s landmark Climate Action Plan calls for halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, compared to emissions from 2010.

 

Roundabout Rally

Foothill Boulevard residents continued their push for a roundabout and other traffic-calming measures on their dangerous street. But it’s been a long slog, as the effort has been underway since 2014. Community activist Tom Coat presented a slideshow to beach planners detailing the dangers caused by speeding on Foothill Boulevard. He also gave a historical perspective on residents' efforts to make this street safer, while answering audience questions.

 

FEBRUARY

 

Pizza Promotion

With National Pizza Day on Feb. 9, San Diego Community Newspaper Group highlighted some of the local pizzas our readers crave from healthy cauliflower crust to Detroit-style sheet pizza to old-school Italian hot pies.

 

Taco Turnover

Taco Surf at 4567 Mission Blvd. in Pacific Beach, owned by Sam and Cindy McLarty for 30 years, was sold to new owners Matt and Melanie Gilmore. “The opportunity arose and we jumped on it,” said Cindy McLarty of the sale of their Mexican restaurant to their friends the Gilmores.”

 

Leap Year

Being a Leap Year, 2020 offered an additional 24 hours on the last Saturday of the month. BBP asked locals how they spent their time, as well as profiling nearly endless suggestions for things to do, in and around San Diego, with the extra time. The list included kitesurfing, yoga by the ocean, whale watching, kayak tours, visiting both sides of the border wall, Temecula wine tours, riding in a hot air balloon, and going skydiving.

 

Roundabout Reinforced

Reacting to a groundswell of complaints about traffic and safety problems on Foothill Boulevard, Pacific Beach Planning Group Feb. 12 unanimously endorsed several traffic-calming measures there including a future roundabout on Vickie Drive.

 

UpLyfting Experience

Ridesharing Lyft unveiled its 35,000-square-foot, one-stop-shop driver center with a lounge and full-service auto repairs at a Feb. 11 press conference in a converted Bay Park retail space that once was a Toys R Us.

 

Commodities Caregiving

Saint Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach collaborated with the San Diego Food Bank to benefit low-income individuals and households experiencing food insecurity. Beginning Feb. 28, and recurring every fourth Friday of the month, Saint Brigid offered a free commodities distribution at the church at t 4735 Cass St.

 

MARCH

 

Animal Activism

Animal-rights activists took aim on hunting enthusiasts protesting a March 7 fundraiser held by the San Diego chapter of Safari Club International at Paradise Point Resort and Spa on Vacation Isle Park in Mission Bay.

 

Step Forward, Back

Circulate San Diego, a regional grassroots group advancing mobility choices, released 2019 collision data showing 44 people traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or vehicle died the previous year within the San Diego City limits. That was 14 fewer fatalities than the year before in 2018. However, 2019 still had more fatalities than two years prior in 2017. It was part and parcel to Vision Zero’s goal of entirely eliminating all traffic fatalities, which remains a long way off.

 

Infrastructure Improvements

A sewer and water project in Crown Point and La Playa and an SDG&E project to underground utility lines and remove the utility poles in that area continued to close streets in PB.

 

Coastal Report Card

San Diego coastal areas, like the rest of the county, got mixed grades from good to poor in the fourth annual Climate Action Plan report card released by the Climate Action Campaign. “While we are winning some battles, we are losing the war against the climate crisis,” said Maleeka Marsden, the lead author of the CAC report card. “The path to a zero-carbon future will not be easy, but we will emerge on the other side with cleaner air, cleaner water, better health, and livable neighborhoods.” The report card details how well 18 cities and the County of San Diego are implementing their climate solutions and moving toward carbon neutrality.

 

APRIL

 

Parks Pause

Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed due to the pandemic, and it was no longer permissible for people to be on boardwalks or in the ocean and bay including surfers. The Port of San Diego also closed public parks around San Diego Bay, which included beaches, parking lots, piers, and boat launches.

 

COVID Cooperation

As the pandemic lockdown continued, coastal business improvement districts including Discover PB, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, and Ocean Beach MainStreet Association all worked together along with their umbrella organization, the BID Alliance, to help small businesses in neighborhoods citywide.

 

Street Stewards

The Street Stewards, who were doing community beautification in Ocean and Pacific beaches, Point Loma, and University City, were re-purposed during the pandemic to aid homebound seniors. “Many of our neighbors are at-risk for coronavirus and must self-isolate at home, specifically seniors and immunocompromised individuals,” said Aaron Null, founder of the volunteer, nonprofit organization. “It's vitally important we check in on them to make sure their basic needs are getting met during this pandemic.”

 

Online Transition

San Diego Unified, the state's second-largest school district, transitioned to online learning starting April 6 due to COVID-19. The announcement came a few weeks after the district shut down all of its schools to prevent the spread of the virus. SDUSD said the move was being made to save the academic year for students, while district physical structures remained closed until the health emergency abates.

 

Coastal Closures

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer closed all City beaches, parks, and trails until at least the end of the month to further limit public gatherings and slow the spread of COVID-19. “People can still go outdoors, but please go outdoors close to home,” Faulconer said. “This is about protecting each other.”

 

Schools Adapt

SDUSD had a soft opening for its new online system involving numerous teaching platforms on April 6. Student and staff instruction was completed on April 27. “We’ve been transitioning into the virtual distance learning online platform making sure students have their devices (computers) up and ready to go,” said Ernie Remillard, Mission Bay High School principal. “Many teachers have used online learning to a degree in their classrooms, so it’s been more about enhancing the capabilities of teachers on my staff.”

 

Virus Memorial

In honor of COVID-19 victims and in solidarity with other parts of the nation suffering the heaviest loss of life, Mayor Faulconer directed all City-operated buildings and facilities to fly flags at half-staff to pay tribute to every person who has lost their life to the coronavirus.

 

Remote Real Estate

Real estate agents still showed and sold homes, but were moving forward remotely to observe mandated COVID-19 social-distancing requirements. Virtual home tours conducted by agents were using internet tools, applications like FaceTime, Zoom, and Matterport, to not only conduct meetings but transact business.

 

Unsheltered Count

Following innovative actions that made San Diego the only major county in the state to see homelessness decrease in 2019, a new report showed the number of people living on City of San Diego streets dropped by 12 percent in 2020, Mayor Faulconer and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless announced April 28.

 

Slow Streets

Continuing to take steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, Mayor Faulconer joined District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell and mobility advocates on April 29 to introduce a “Slow Streets” pilot program to re-purpose certain public streets, create more outdoor space and encourage safe walking and cycling while still following public health rules for physical distancing and facial coverings.

 

MAY

 

Traffic Transition

Civic leaders praised the City’s decision to construct a roundabout and other traffic-calming improvements at Foothill Boulevard and Loring Street in Pacific Beach. The announcement came shortly following yet another auto collision at the nettlesome crossing. Construction of the estimated $2.4 million project was set to begin the third quarter of 2021, with completion anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

 

Critical Mass Transit

At an April 23 joint remote press conference, Circulate San Diego and Metropolitan Transit System argued mass transit is critical to getting essential workers to their jobs while adding bus and trolley service would continue during the pandemic, though at reduced levels. The conference came in response to a white paper report released that day by Circulate San Diego, which found nearly 16,000 essential workers in the region commute to work every day by public transportation.

 

Beaches Back

As City-operated beaches re-opened for some uses following the County of San Diego’s revised public health order, Mayor Faulconer was joined by the San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland, and Randa Coniglio, president and CEO of the Port of San Diego on April 27 to provide an update on the first day of limited coastal access. “Today you stayed classy, San Diego because you followed the beach rules developed by lifeguards and public health officials,” Faulconer said. "We've all seen beaches around the country reopen to pandemonium. Today the nation saw San Diego acting like America's Finest City."

 

Multiplying Murals

Pacific Beach residents looking to occupy themselves waiting out the coronavirus “pause,” did so in taking beautifulPB’s self-guided murals tour for a fun afternoon. BBP profiled nearly 50 murals to choose from, not even counting painted crosswalks or decorated utility boxes, strewn throughout the community.

 

Quarantine Contest

The winner of Pacific Beach Town Council’s "Community in Quarantine" art and "quarantee" contest was Charlie Nieto creator of the HAZMAT surfer. Nieto is a Mission Bay High graduate attending SDSU.

 

Market Reopened

The Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers Market reopened May 19 after being closed during the pandemic under the new City of San Diego guidelines. The market, which began in 2011, was closed in late March when the City of San Diego suspended all farmers market permits. The governor's office ordered farmers’ markets to stay open along with grocery stores as essential services, but individual counties and cities set their own requirements for continued operations.

 

Childcare Aid

Continuing to take steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by Covid-19, Mayor Faulconer joined County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and City Council member Chris Cate on May 8 to announce the City and the County would direct $10 million in federal stimulus funding to provide childcare for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic response.

 

Slow Streets Reaction

Not everyone wanted to fast-track Mayor Faulconer's new Slow Streets program in Pacific Beach, which became clear during Pacific Beach Town Council’s May 20 Zoom meeting. Some neighbors objected to the program, which turned Diamond Street from Mission Boulevard to Haines Street into a slow streets thoroughfare. Opponents claimed it disrupted the traffic flow and created parking problems in nearby side streets. The “Slow Streets” pilot program was introduced to make it safer for San Diegans to walk and bike by creating more space for physical distancing and reducing congested foot traffic at parks, beaches, and outdoor trails.

 

JUNE

An economist with San Diego Association of Governments predicted the protracted shutdown of much of San Diego’s economy would translate into a long, slow, and painful recovery. “It’s going to take longer than we hoped, that’s for sure,” said Ray Major, chief economist with SANDAG, the region’s transportation planning agency comprised of local government City and county officials, which sets and oversees planning and fares for public mass transit.

 

Black Lives Matter

Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and La Jolla saw several peaceful rallies supporting Black Lives Matter from three paddle outs to a march down Garnet Avenue, to protests on the sidewalks of busy streets. On June 5, the Black Student Union at Mission Bay High organized and led a Black Lives Matter rally at the school’s front entrance on Grand Avenue. Dozens of students, parents, and some teachers joined to protest against police brutality and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The group held signs and cheered on drivers who honked in support.

 

Trolley On-Time

Pacific Beach community planners were told by a San Diego Association of Governments engineer in June that the Mid-Coast Trolley extension stopping at a new PB/ Clairemont trolley station at Balboa Avenue is on schedule for completion in late 2021.

 

Force Reduction

Following a series of public meetings to hear feedback on community and police relations, Mayor Faulconer announced on June 24 that the San Diego Police Department had created standalone policies to help officers reduce the use of force and increase community trust.

 

JULY

 

Payne Park

In 1945, a petition signed by 1,900 Pacific Beach property owners demanded the removal of William Payne, the community’s first Black teacher on the staff of Pacific Beach Junior High School, because of his race. Seventy-five years later, Crown Point residents and San Diego State University administrator Paige Hernandez started a similar petition drive to honor Payne for his courage and community service. Hernandez’s goal was to get the same symbolic number of signatures, 1,900, to rename joint-use PB Community Park near PB Middle School and the PB Recreation Center, to Fannie and William Payne Community Park.

 

Relationships Changing

Change can only happen within relationships. That, and the need for hope, were two messages delivered by Pacific Beach social activist Caryn Blanton on July 2 at a community “conversation” on homelessness and crime held at St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Blanton spoke to guests and community volunteers about combating homelessness and crime while they ate chocolate and roasted marshmallows.

 

Safety-First Approach

Drawing tourists back, and getting them to stay and spend, wouldn’t be easy. But Elvin Lai of San Diego’s hospitality industry discussed his plan with BBP. “How we get tourism back in San Diego is by showing tourists that San Diego is a clean and safe place to come to,” said Lai, noting all tourist-oriented San Diego organizations are working together to “enhance health protocols to make sure employees, as well as guests, are safe through cleaning protocols, social distancing and sanitation stations.”

 

Hotel Upgrade

Ocean Park Inn in Pacific Beach enjoyed upgrades from the first phase of the oceanfront boutique hotel’s remodel, which included 71 newly re-imagined rooms, refreshed common areas, and a pool deck as part of an ongoing property-wide renovation. Founded by the Lai family four generations ago, the independently owned inn is a boutique hotel on the PB shoreline at 710 Grand Ave. boasting a variety of suites.

 

Promontory Project Panned

A project for redeveloping a lot with a companion unit at 3535 Promontory St. in Crown Point fared no better in July than it did in January, as Pacific Beach Planning Group once again turned thumbs down on the redo plan by a lopsided margin. Project developer Igor Prokopenko argued before PB planners on July 8 that plans for remodeling the Promontory dwelling and its accessory dwelling unit had been “softened” by redesigning it to mute its modernistic design. But PB planners remained unconvinced, moving at the end of testimony by neighbors opposed to the project to recommend its denial on grounds the project was out of character with the neighborhood.

 

Rental Compromise

District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell’s compromise proposal on short-term rentals stirred strong emotions, being condemned outright by at least one civic group, while other stakeholders were more conciliatory. Campbell worked with Unite Here Local 30 and Expedia Group, the parent company for leading short-term rental brands Vrbo and HomeAway, to craft a comprise on short-term rentals. The parties agreed to a set of comprehensive rules to regulate San Diego’s short-term rentals industry. As outlined in a memorandum of understanding, Campbell claimed her proposal would reduce the volume of whole-home short-term rentals, while creating legal inventory for short-term rentals platforms and local operators that comply with the new rules.

 

Pernicano Passes

Well-known and loved Pacific Beach Italian restaurant owner-operator John Pernicano, 92, died in his sleep on July 22 from cancer complications. The community mourned his passage.

 

AUGUST

 

Parking Enforcement Paused

Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Mayor Faulconer directed City staff to delay full enforcement of parking regulations until Sept. 1. Parking enforcement had been limited to holiday or Sunday regulations in the City since March 16. During that time, the City had suspended citations for vehicles violating street sweeping parking restrictions, metered parking, time limits, and yellow commercial zones.

 

Outdoor Operations

Mayor Faulconer won unanimous City Council approval Aug. 4 for two measures offering greater opportunity for small and disadvantaged businesses to stay in business and follow public health orders during the pandemic. An executive order was issued allowing businesses including gyms, churches, barbershops, and nail salons to expand their operations into private parking lots, sidewalks, and on-street parking.

 

COVID Hot Spot

Pacific Beach became a coronavirus hot spot. So much so that San Diego County opened a COVID-19 testing site in the beach community due to the increasing number of cases there. “It’s important to remember that our actions matter. We must all do all that we can to prevent contracting and spreading the virus,” said Wilma Wooten, County public health officer. The new drive-up site offering free COVID-19 testing Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. was set up at the Pacific Beach Library at 4275 Cass St.

 

Rental Worries

Concern ramped-up that some coastal short-term rentals were hosting gatherings and parties without guests wearing masks or social distancing. "Many short-term rentals operating in our residential areas here at the beach have shown to be consistent hot spots throughout the pandemic for large gatherings and unchecked parties with complete disregard for public health orders and safety precautions,” said Brian White, Pacific Beach Town Council president.

 

Parks Repurposed

As part of a continued effort to help San Diegans move activities outdoors where experts say the spread of COVID-19 is reduced, Mayor Faulconer Aug. 18 signed an executive order allowing gyms and religious institutions to operate in city parks.

 

Coastal Crime

Three years ago, Pacific Beach ranked second behind only East Village out of 125 City communities in violent crimes reported that year with 216. In 2020, PB retained the exact same ranking, down slightly with 206 total violent crimes reported in the community in 2019 crime statistics compiled by San Diego Police Department.

 

Save San Diego Neighborhoods

BBP profiled the stance of Save San Diego Neighborhoods and sympathizers against short-term rentals. The group insists they’re illegal in residential neighborhoods and laws on the books prohibiting them should be enforced. The hot-button issue dating back years was rekindled when District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell surprised most with her compromise proposal on a new set of rules and regulations to govern the short-term rental industry moving forward. 

 

Planners Concur

Pacific Beach Planning Group unanimously endorsed a proposal by two local social activists to rename PB Community Park as Fannie and William Payne Community Park honoring the pioneering Black educators in post-World War II PB.

 

SEPTEMBER

 

Saska’s Sold

Three properties in Mission Beach: Saska’s restaurant, former Swell Coffee shop and a surface parking lot, were sold by E3 Advisors, as receiver for American National Investments, as part of the liquidation of properties formerly owned by Gina Champion-Cain. Cain pled guilty to securities fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for defrauding investors out of $400 million through a liquor-license loan funding program.

 

Don’t Trash MB

Beachcomber Cathy Ives joined fellow Mission Beach residents Tony and Tim Sanfelice in launching a new citizen advocacy group, Don't Trash Mission Beach, donttrashmissionbeach.com. The new group held its first volunteer beach cleanup for South Mission Beach on Sept. 12. That cleanup saw another community first: A Beach Trash Art Exhibit- Installation crafted of disposed of items, to bring awareness of beach trash and its impact on the environment.

 

OCTOBER

 

Historical Controversy

Plans by Chase Bank on Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach to demolish their existing bank branch building and replace it with a mixed-use development ran into opposition from architectural preservation group Save Our Heritage Organisation. SOHO objected to the proposed project citing the historical significance of the Mission Boulevard Chase branch. “SOHO learned about the intended demolition of the Millard Sheets-designed Home Savings and Loan building, now Chase Bank, early this summer,” said the nonprofit.

 

Coastal Clean-Up

Pacific Beach civic groups and individuals stepped in to fill gaps in voluntarily cleaning and maintaining the community’s sidewalks, trails, and landscaping. Pacific Beach Town Council removed gum and did deep cleaning of years-old grime from Garnet Avenue sidewalks in the community’s business district while removing overgrown weeds from medians.

 

Parking Pilot

The Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Committee proposed a one-year pilot program for paid street parking in the densest, prime-parking area of the Garnet Avenue commercial district. The pilot program would be limited to commercial parking zones with two-hour and fewer time limits. Pricing could be flexed to accommodate higher and lower demand. But the price would not exceed the City’s $2.50 per-hour cap.

 

Major Milestones

Pacific Beach Woman’s Club observed two major milestones in 2020: The club celebrated its 125th anniversary, along with putting its 109-year-old historic clubhouse up for sale for the first time entertaining offers starting at $1.5 million.

 

Changing Of The Guard

An all-volunteer, public nonprofit charity, beautifulPB, elected a new board and refined its vision but retained the same mission: to create a sustainably beautiful Pacific Beach that other communities can emulate and replicate.

 

Rentals Supported

Following lengthy testimony, the City Planning Commission on Oct. 8 voted 4-3 to send a short-term rental compromise proposal by District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell back for further review. In carrying the matter over, the seven-member commission presented a long list of questions to be answered. Those included a request for more details of the council member’s plan including information on fees and a lottery to include short-term rental operators under a proposed unit cap, as well as specifics on how a new ordinance would be enforced.

 

On-Leash Hours

“Our all-volunteer PB Town Council is seeking increased hours to 10 a.m.-4 p.m. year-round for on-leash dogs in Mission Bay Park,” said PBTC president Brian White in a community appeal. “We believe the current hours are too restrictive, so we're proposing that the City of San Diego loosen up the hours a bit to give dog owners a little more time in the mornings and evenings to enjoy the bay with their pups."

 

Block Captains

Pacific Beach implemented a new block captain program for a portion of Garnet Avenue. “It’s being co-sponsored by Pacific Beach Town Council and Pacific Beach Planning Group,” said planning group member Eve Anderson, who likened the block captain program to a “Neighborhood Watch for businesses,” Anderson said the program would extend from Crystal Pier to Ingraham Street.

 

Crime Review

Pacific Beach Town Council in October heard from local law enforcement about everything from homeless encampments to bike theft, sidewalk vending, and illegal beach fires.

 

Street Vending

Pacific Beach Town Council continued lobbying to have the City enact its own ordinance that would counteract what they saw as the excesses of SB 946, which took effect Jan. 1, 2019. SB 946’s purpose was to legalize and decriminalize sidewalk/ street vending across the state. “PB Town Council supported the draft ordinance for sidewalk vending when it was brought to City Council committee over a year ago in September 2019, and in recent months, we've also asked why it was never brought to full City Council for approval to establish much-needed regulations,” said Brian White, PBTC president.

 

NOVEMBER

 

Homeless Encampments

With proliferating homeless encampments in Pacific Beach tarnishing the community’s image and vibe, residents were looking for answers. "This situation is an utter shame, and downright incompatible with a healthy, thriving beach community,” said Brian White, president of Pacific Beach Town Council. “The excessive number of homeless encampments and continued degradation in our beach area has created an unsavory atmosphere for residents, families, and vacationers. “Many feel threatened by aggressive behavior being displayed regularly by mentally unstable individuals roaming our streets, alleys, and boardwalks with impunity.”

 

Memorial Playground

On Nov. 9, Mayor Faulconer, Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, and community leaders celebrated the reopening of the transformed Maruta Gardner Playground at Bonita Cove. The playground was named in honor of Gardner, a longtime Mission Beach community leader who was tragically struck and killed by an impaired driver four years ago while she was painting over graffiti. The Bonita Cove playground replacement effort began as a private initiative launched by the Mission Beach Women’s Club and Gardner.

 

Parking Pushback

Some criticism was encountered during a Nov. 5 meeting on the proposed implementation of a year-long parking meter pilot study in the densest part of Garnet Avenue’s commercial district in Pacific Beach. Some residents argued it would push street parking into residential areas. Regina Sinsky-Crosby, chair of the PB Parking Advisory Board, countered with detailed plans for creating a parking pilot program using new technology, not old-style metal meters.

 

Complete Communities

The City Council on Nov. 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of Complete Communities, a package of initiatives and planning strategies to provide incentives for housing development near transit while promoting and investing in active transportation as an alternative to cars.

 

Parking Pilot Progresses

In November, the push to implement a year-long parking meter pilot study on Garnet Avenue gained traction as Pacific Beach Planning Group voted 9 to 3 for the proposal. The PB parking pilot would be limited to 321 two- hour-or-less-time-limited spaces in the densest part of Garnet Avenue’s commercial district.

 

Pocket Park

A trio of young women near Pacific Beach Elementary School guided by a neighbor took on a community-improvement project: creating the first-of-its-kind mini-park in their neighborhood.

 

DECEMBER

The pandemic notwithstanding, Pacific Beach continued its long tradition of decking Crystal Pier out with wreaths, lights, and a Christmas tree, along with a window-decorating contest, while promoting local small businesses.

 

Commission Consensus

The City Planning Commission on Dec. 3 voted 7-0 for a proposed short-term rental ordinance calling for licensing them, capping their numbers, and penalizing violators, while creating a City office to administer the new program while making it subject to annual review. Commissioners also agreed to a “carve-out” for Mission Beach, the community with the highest percentage of short-term rentals citywide, from the overall compromise plan offered by District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell.

 

Mail Carrier Mourned

Jerry Tin, a San Diego postal carrier covering Route 46 including Crown Point in Pacific Beach, died while on the job and was mourned by those he served. A community GoFundMe page was set up in Tin’s memory.

 

DPB Turnover

Discover Pacific Beach’s longtime executive director Sara Berns announced she was moving on after 13 years with the beach business improvement district. “ It will be good for the organization moving forward to restructure some things. I just thought it was a good opportunity for me and my family at this point,” said Berns, who succeeded Andy Hanshaw who left DPB to become executive director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

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