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Stop Plans to Build a 3500' Sq/ft Lifeguard Command Center at Law St

This petition had 1,089 supporters

Regarding : The construction of a 3563 sq/ft Lifeguard Administrative Facility & Command Center at Law St, 92109 ( ~$7 Million dollar estimated budget)

This proposed lifeguard command center is unwanted by the community, a misuse of taxpayer funds, and a bad idea for many reasons.  This project is also environmentally unsound as it proposes to build the facility in an area with recurrent flooding, when ocean levels are projected to rise.

The community recognizes the need for lifeguards & appreciates their service, however there has been no increase in drowning, or hazardous activity in the area. There is simply NO DATA to support the need for a large permanent facility at this site on Law Street beach especially so close (.5 miles) from the Grand Ave station.

This facility would also create unwanted, infrastructure and unneeded vehicle traffic to this peaceful, natural beach, and residential neighborhood. Moreover, there have been no environmental or other impact studies to asses the true damage that construction of this facility will cause.

Yet plans are already being drawn up, and paid for by taxpayers.

The location at Law Street is inappropriate for a facility of this magnitude. This area is recognized by the community as an amazing natural space in one of San Diego’s oldest beach communities. The beach at Law Street and the coastal canyon bluffs are also environmentally sensitive and should be preserved as such.  They provide a natural, beautiful, and peaceful coastal space for all to enjoy.  This area is a valuable natural asset, a true landmark, should not become over trafficked through the introduction of major construction.  

The community is opposed to this expansive 3563' sq/ft  lifeguard command center housing administrative offices, emergency command & control response for the region, locker rooms, kitchen, break rooms, bathrooms, male & female showers, medical facilities, a 14' garage, vehicle storage, equipment storage, and a sewage system. 

This project will likely require further construction to protect it from coastal flooding, due to this poor site choice. It is clearly irresponsible to build in an area prone to flooding to address a seasonal need.  We believe that the true Lifeguard needs could be fully achieved with a smaller but very functional facility.

This command center would also entirely change the atmosphere of this tranquil coastal area visited by local residents, many families, and out of town tourists.  It would take over a significant beach area given the building footprint, associated garage access, necessary vehicle turning radius', and expected protective sand berms. 

As stated in the Pacific Beach Community Plan - Open Space :

“An ideal balance of recreational opportunities cannot be achieved only through Citywide application of numerical standards for physical facilities. These standards are important, but they should be used with discretion rather than mechanically. Their application should be related to economic feasibility and the nature of the specific neighborhood or community, and should allow for flexibility as specific areas change or the needs and desires of the residents change.”

Why this Proposed Lifeguard Administrative Facility at Law St (92109) is a bad idea for the Community:

Environmental Issues:

  • Poor Site Choice - Proposed site is classified as “Environmentally Sensitive” according to the Pacific Beach Community Plan, the California Coastal Act, & the California State Constitution.

  • Flooding - Projected to stand only 10 feet above the mean level incoming ocean tides, this lifeguard command center project is being constructed in harm's way. This $6.8 million dollar project would be immediately, and long term, at real risk of be flooded or undermined from the first bad storm.

  • Ocean Levels Rising - By all accounts ocean levels are projected to rise in the future thus increasing the likelihood of flooding, and undermining of any permanent structure.

  • Environmental Studies - Lack of Environmental impact studies to the region. Especially regarding the impact of ocean levels rising, but also including geology or soils reports, as well as other environmental factors such as habitat.

Logistical Issues: 

  • No Proven Need - There are no data, studies, facts, or occurrences that indicate a proven NEED for another lifeguard command center to be built at Law Street when the Grand Avenue station is half a mile away.

  • Misuse of Taxpayer Funds -  Neither the city nor the lifeguard's have provided any data that suggests the need for a permanent ~7 million dollar structure.  In reality this permanent structure will remain unmanned for most of it's existence. Lifeguards currently work 8am to 5 pm, and most of them during summer only. The storage of valuable emergency equipment in an area prone to flooding is reckless and a poor use of taxpayer funds.

  • Notification & Procedure - The outdated 2002 motion that states the need for this lifeguard station is over a decade old, and was never submitted to the community to discuss, or to allow for alternative solutions. We are very concerned that construction plans for this project are being created, and advanced BEFORE proper community, and environmental impact studies for it have been completed.

  • Poor Site Choice - This proposed lifeguard command center is set to be constructed in a  residential area, as well as an environmentally sensitive zone that is subject to recurrent flooding. 

  • Community Use - The area at the foot of Law Street is a multi use area.  There are greater community needs in this area that are not addressed with this proposed facility. This proposed project only creates only a solution for lifeguards while ignoring wider community needs in an important community space:  Boardwalk terminus, Beach drop off, Open space, View corridor,  Erosion control.

  • Community Impact - No studies or research has been done regarding the impact  from this proposed project on the residential commnuity before the city has gone ahead with creating plans for large structures in our community. The community residents have not had proper notice to explore alternatives, or weigh in on such an important decision that affects the state, character, and future quality of life in our neighborhood.

  • Beach Impact - This proposed station will take over valuable beach real estate that is easy access for residents and tourists alike. The needed vehicle turning radius in front of this proposed station, plus protective sand berms will all but eliminate beach usability on the south side of the access ramp. Beach goers will be forced to walk, and carry all beach gear much further due to the lifeguards taking up the beach near the access ramp.

  • Residential Neighborhood - The proposed site is located in a longstanding residential neighborhood. Residents do not want urbanization of the neighborhood.  More importantly, residents do not want to see the beautiful sandy area of Law Street beach replaced with a permanent 3563' sq/ft concrete building.

  • Community Plan -  Contrary to the Pacific Beach Community Plan to ease impact in this area, this proposed facility would have a dramatic impact and it completely ignores important neighborhood issues highlighted here:

  • Pedestrian / Vehicle Congestion - The proposed command center would promote further overuse of an already congested area where cars and pedestrians already see a ‘bottleneck’ effect during peak summer use.

  • Traffic Congestion Studies - There is a lack of information & studies about increased traffic patterns that would be a direct result of the command center activities. The station would draw more population north and increase area impact in a residential neighborhood.

  • Parking & Parking Studies  - The Law Street site lacks suitable Employee Parking, a major concern for our neighborhood already struggling with parking issues.

  • Plumbing Issues - Building and maintaining proper plumbing and sewage for this facility is hazardous, and prone to sewage disasters considering the building would be entrenched in an environmentally sensitive area prone to flooding.

  • Noise - This peaceful neighborhood will be subject to increased noise from maintenance vehicles & crews, as well as lifeguard activities and the use of loudspeakers.

  • Crime Increase - The exterior building areas will attract more nighttime traffic and an increase in transients, and neighborhood crime. This facility will be unmanned for two thirds of the time, creating an “off hours” staging area for homeless to gather in a residential neighborhood.  Our community has already seen this effect from the new comfort station at Law street.  Since opening less than 1 year ago, the occurrence of crime, specifically drug related crime, and overnight homeless use has risen dramatically according to the San Diego Police department reports.

  • Seasonal Need - 3600' sq/ft design is overkill for a daytime staff of two lifeguards throughout most of the year. Summer staff ramps up for 3 months a year. Structure square footage and design should reflect this.

  • Resident Impact - This proposed project will adversely affect residents. Current law enforcement places the burden of crime control, and homelessness issues on residents, forcing them to call, and report problems, as well as follow up with law enforcement. The increased congestion, and nighttime gathering created by this further urbanization of a residential zone will greatly impact residents, and their quality of life, as already witnessed from the impact of the increased crime, and homeless resulting from the construction of the new comfort station at the foot of Law street.

  • Coastal Scenic Views Obstructed - The nearly three story, 3563 sq/ft facility will block famous Pacific Beach view corridors that are celebrated and enjoyed by all beach going residents and tourists.

  • Community Feedback and Notification - There has been a Lack of Notification to the community and thus lack of opportunity for community response.

  • Residential Property Values - All of the above issues will negatively impact property values.

The community believes the plans for this 3563 sq/ft  facility do not address serious community concerns outlined in this petition.  

We believe this project is being pushed forward without concern for the community it will affect.  

We are very concerned that construction plans have been drawn up BEFORE proper impact studies have been done.

The community has not be properly notified and given the ability to explore alternatives considering the drastic effect this 3500' sq/ft station will have on our community and beautiful local beaches.

The community would like to ensure that City Site Development Permit is NOT issued for this project until our concerns have been addressed. 

The community needs the opportunity to explore and propose alternative solutions rather than see this proposed command center built. 


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