YEAR IN REVIEW – Scooters, dog parks, vehicle habitation, Plunge re-opens, Margaritaville coming, and more scooters
A woman runs along the Mission Bay shoreline with her dog at sunset in December. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Last year, residents were pleased by the City’s decision to approve a more dog-friendly redevelopment option for Fiesta Island, as well as endorsing a ban on electric scooters on the boardwalk for Pacific and Mission beaches. What to do about short-term vacation rentals continued however to be a vexing problem with no easy solution approaching 2020.
• Dozens participate in Saska’s annual Polar Plunge run to the ocean on New Year’s Day morning in Mission Beach.
• “The biggest thing I want to change is the spirit of the town council. There has been quite a bit of drama this past year, and I want to make things better,” said new Mission Beach Town Council president Matt Gardner, a beach rental business owner.
• As of Jan. 1 new state laws: made surfing California’s official state sport; required dogs, cats, and rabbits sold in pet stores to be obtained only from animal shelters or rescue groups; required kids meals in most restaurants to have a milk- or water-based beverage as the default choice; removed the requirement for people over age 18 to wear a helmet while riding a motorized scooter; and added a new law mandating repeat DUI offenders and some others to install a breathalyzer on their engine ignition for 12 to 48 months.
• Dog owners were elated as Mission Bay Park Committee Jan. 8 overwhelmingly selected the option they favored for reconfiguring the dog park on 470-acre Fiesta Island.
• BBP asked local psychics to look ahead and what they foresaw was Trump’s re-election, a change of direction in world outlook and future problems with technological over-reliance.
• PB resident Kara Kay made the final four on TV’s ‘Survivor.’
• Dan Borelli, co-owner of Boardwalk Electric Rides Pacific Beach/Boardwalk Rides, started a second occupation: impounding improperly parked scooters.
• Love at first bite: BBP did a feature on best places along the oceanfront to grab a slice for national pizza day.
• Jim and Melanie Woods of Crown Point launched a petition on change.org that netted nearly 1,500 signatures the first week requesting more off-leash options for their dogs.
• Local environmentalist Karin Zirk of Friends of Rose Creek conducted a media tour of the waterway pointing out it isn’t getting the attention it deserves advocating for more City help in maintaining and cleaning up the creek and picking up trash.
• Charley Kausen and Natalie Sollock of PB voluntarily began picking up trash in the community while urging others to follow suit. The pair were providing $15 “loans” of branded buckets and trash grabbers for community clean-ups.
• Bill Walby, longtime manager at PB Hardware & Nails, retired after 23 years and was given a proper send-off on March 2.
• Pacific Beach Planning Group opposed allowing vehicle habitation.
• After two-plus years of service beautifying the community, Pacific Beach Street Guardians closed down operations.
• The City said it would include a pedestrian-bicycle bridge in plans for the new Balboa Avenue Transit Station, though there was as yet no funding for it.
• On March 14 the City announced a major expansion of its pothole repair program to fill thousands of potholes that developed during heavy seasonal rains.
• A ban on styrofoam, a non-biodegradable plastic product, went into effect.
• Local environmentalists endorsing a San Diego Green New Deal to develop a regional vision to fight climate change and build economic sustainability.
• Pacific Beach Town Council began pursuing a new off-leash dog park at Crown Point.
• At a March 25 press conference, Mayor Faulconer unveiled plans for a new ordinance once again making vehicle habitation illegal.
• BBP ran a feature on top beachfront spots to grab a tasty burrito.
• On April 11 the City Planning Commission voted 6-0 in favor of Option A, the non-dog friendly option which called for dividing Fiesta Island with a road and reducing access for off-leash dog park users.
• Pacific Beach residents surveyed are largely skeptical that the City’s recent trade-off in reducing parking requirements to make it cheaper to build new affordable housing will work.
• Some PB residents voiced their displeasure publicly following an 8-1 City Council vote to reduce parking requirements to a zero minimum at new multifamily residential developments within transit priority areas (TPAs).
• A well-attended public protest sponsored by Mission Beach Town Council was held on the boardwalk days before a full City Council hearing on new scooter regulations.
• The City Council voted unanimously in favor of new regulations for electric scooters and other shared-mobility devices instituting fees for operators, decreasing allowed speeds and designating where they can park.
• Broken Yolk celebrated 40 years of eggcellent food and service.
• PB Middle School student and avid surfer Adrian Scavone raised the $4,000 needed through Go Fund Me to have a state-of-the-art Flowater refill station installed on the school’s campus at 4674 Ingraham St.
• The City Council voted 6-3 to draft a new ordinance making vehicle habitation illegal once again in residential areas and near schools.
• The former Mission Beach Elementary School building on Mission Boulevard, vacant since 2013, was torn down to make way for 59 homesites spanning condominiums, townhomes and one single-family detached home.
• The City asked the public to weigh-in on two initial concepts for new way-finding signs replacing the 30-year-old signs directing visitors to marinas, beaches, streets, boat launches and attractions throughout Mission Bay Park.
• BBP featured the best and most bodacious burgers on the beach.
• Beautiful MB dissolved, putting its support behind I Love A Clean San Diego.
• Campland on the Bay proposed taking over former Mission Bay RV resort and removing asbestos.
• The Association of National Olympic Committees announced it was moving the inaugural World Beach Games from San Diego and was looking for other cities to host the event.
• Campland and environmentalists debated a Campland proposal to be granted a short-term City lease to do clean-up and asbestos removal at the long-abandoned De Anza RV area. Campland claimed it was a win-win. Environmentalists contended it was a land grab delaying wetlands restoration.
• City planners returned with a refined visionary plan to make public park and street space along Mission Boulevard more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly at a workshop.
• The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 June 24 to grant Campland on the Bay’s request for a five-year lease extension by the City to clean-up and do asbestos removal at the now-abandoned De Anza Cove mobile home park.
• Audience members practically howled after San Diego City Council voted unanimously June 17 for the more dog-friendly of two options offered for redeveloping Fiesta Island.
• Rose Marie Renna of Pacific Beach celebrated turning 100 years old and living in PB.
• More than a dozen local kids splashed into the new Plunge pool in Belmont Park on July 3 to commemorate its opening at a ceremony presided over by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
• Renovation of Pacific Beach Middle School began with the razing of aging buildings.
• Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Vacation Isle Park in Mission Bay announced plans to rebrand into a Margaritaville Island Beach Resort with an anticipated 2020-1 reopening.
• A new underpass and bridge moved Rose Creek Bikeway closer to 2020 completion.
• A BBP feature explored a proposed drone delivery program by restaurants and local government.
• Calling the City’s new Vehicle Habitation Ordinance draconian, people living in their vehicles – seniors, veterans, the disabled, low-income – rallied in Mission Bay Park July 17 protesting “poverty apartheid.”
• Momentum continued to build against electric scooters, as District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry called for a moratorium on them, while a PB resident initiated an online petition drive to ban them netting more than 300 signatures in 48 hours.
• On Aug. 1 San Diego City Council unanimously passed a specific plan calling for greater housing density and multi-modal connectivity for the new Balboa Avenue Trolley Station but stopped short of dedicating Rose Creek as public parkland as a condition of project approval.
• On Aug. 15 aspiring teen lifeguards learned what it’s like to actually work in the field, being schooled by Junior Lifeguard interns at Mission Beach on first-aid and water-rescue techniques.
• Several local surfers and shapers were among legends of the sport inducted Aug. 13 into the San Diego Surfing Hall of Fame. Locals honored included Skip Frye and Mike Hynson.
• The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges and obtained a consented-to asset freeze against San Diego-based ANI Development LLC, its principal, beach entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain, and a relief defendant, for allegedly operating a multi-year $300 million scheme that defrauded approximately 50 retail investors.
• A roundabout at Pacific Beach Drive is just one improvement envisioned by a new City active transportation plan to make Mission Boulevard more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly between PB Drive and Diamond Street proposed a new roundabout at Pacific Beach Drive.
• After 65 years in business, the Pernicano family announced it would close its iconic north PB Pizzeria.
• SD Taproom was lord of the wings champ in the annual chicken wings competition sponsored by Discover PB.
• The City Council Sept. 17 approved a proposal to create a new joint-powers entity with cities across the region to provide residents the choice of greener energy.
• Mayoral candidates Barbara Bry, Todd Gloria, and Tasha Williamson squared off in a far-ranging debate at MBHS Sept. 18.
• Pacific Beach Planning Group nixed a proposed moratorium on electric scooters.
• In fallout from the Gina Champion-Cain investment scandal, a court-appointed receiver closed six of her subsidiary enterprises from The Patio Group, while turning temporary operations of four of her restaurants over to the Cohn Restaurant Group.
• The Guardian Angels announced they were forming a new PB chapter.
• A PB workshop highlighted the need for more affordable housing.
• Friends of Rose Creek sued the City over the new Balboa Avenue Station’s impacts on the surrounding community, arguing the project’s environmental report failed to adequately address densification caused by the project.
• Some Mission Beach residents complained that scooter corrals were impeding street cleaning putting the community at risk of flooding.
• A compromise agreement between San Diego Audubon Society and Campland on the Bay guaranteed new RV spaces Campland was creating on the De Anza boot would be as far away from the public bayfront — and future wetland restoration — as possible.
• Beach residents were reporting increased sightings and pet attacks from coyotes.
• On Nov. 12, Mayor Faulconer joined community leaders, along with William Gardner, to break ground on a much-needed makeover for the playground at Bonita Cove to be named after Gardner’s late wife Maruta, an educator and former MBHS principal.
• An attorney representing people living out of their vehicles claimed the City’s safe parking lots program was inadequate, while legally challenging the City’s new Vehicle Habitation Ordinance as being unconstitutional.
• Local leaders discussed a new strategic homelessness community plan at a Pacific Beach workshop.
• On Dec. 3, a hearing officer denied the City of San Diego’s petition to revoke Lime scooter company’s operating permit.
• On Dec. 17, the City Council voted 5-4 to ban electric scooters and other motorized vehicles on beach boardwalks. The council had nixed a similar proposal by a 6-3 vote two years earlier.