Plans begin surfacing for lifeguard station at foot of Law Street
by Mariko Lamb
Aug 15, 2012 | 5878 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following a split 7-7 vote, the Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) decided July 25 to table a motion to support a site location request for a proposed lifeguard station at Law Street until further information about the project is vetted by board members and residents.

The project proposal entails construction of a full lifeguard station just south of Law Street in North Pacific Beach for use by San Diego lifeguards for vehicle and equipment storage, observation, first-aid response and public showers, bathrooms and changing rooms.

“It’s not a tower,” said PBPG chairman Brian Curry. “They’re talking about a full lifeguard station. Maybe not to scale, but something similar probably to the Grand Avenue facility.

“Overall, the board does feel absolutely, 100-percent supportive of lifeguards and of community safety, but we want to understand that it is the right facility, at the right location, right there at Law Street,” he said. “We’re trying to get as much public feedback on that.”

The site was selected because of its proximity to the burgeoning number of surfers and beachgoers who have shifted north over the years, according to lifeguard representatives who presented the proposal. The vehicle access ramp also may have played an important role in the site selection, said Curry.

Representatives of San Diego Lifeguard Services were unavailable for more details at press time.

Some board members at the July 25 meeting aired concerns that the proposed location, just south of Law Street, is unfit for a permanent structure because of the steep, crumbling slope and occasional high-tide flooding. Some residents suggested that alternative locations — further north at Tourmaline Street or further south at Chalcedony Street — would be more suitable.

“We’ve asked them [lifeguards] to explore all options, take public feedback — and feedback from us — and maybe come back with a more comprehensive idea about what could happen there or in other locations,” said Curry.

There was also some debate about the necessity of a full-service facility, since the alcohol ban on beaches has brought fewer people out to the coast, said Curry.

Some board members suggested a station with a small footprint, or even a tower, would be more appropriate for the site. Others were simply averse to confirming a site selection when no design has yet been presented.

“Some folks don’t want to approve the site without knowing what is going to be built there,” Curry said. “Hopefully, we’ll have something in September. We’ve asked for that, and the board has also asked them [lifeguards] to explore alternative locations.”

Approval of the site would allow the lifeguard services to begin geological, soil and environmental impact studies.

“The board isn’t asking for a complete working drawing, but just what they have in mind. View corridors and footprint come into question,” said Curry. “That’s prime real estate on the sand.

“Most people don’t even know this is happening, and this is a very big and important project for Pacific Beach,” he said. “If folks wake up and see this thing under construction, they’re going to say, ‘What is going on here?’ We want as much feedback and public awareness as possible.”

Residents are invited to ask questions and air concerns at the PBPG’s Development Subcommittee meeting on Sept. 13 at noon at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library, located at 4275 Cass St.

For more information or copies of official proposal documents, visit www.pbplanning.org.
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