Why Restore Kellogg Beach? A Look at Its Inheritance and Legacy

by on March 16, 2017 · 8 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

Architects rendering of proposed San Antonio Condos & Kellogg Condos

By Michael Winn

A real estate speculator has proposed to replace a single family home on Kellogg Street in La Playa with a concrete sea wall and 9 condominiums, where there is now a beach.

How can the community assess this proposed development without consensus about the fate of this beach? Colloquially called, Kellogg Beach it’s actually the last remaining part of the beach for which this community was originally named, La Playa, perhaps, in the 17th century.

La Playa (translated: the beach) is one of just four places shown on an 1851 U.S. survey of San Diego Bay. Other places are Ballast Point, [Old Town] San Diego and “New San Diego”. A trail is shown on the 1851 chart that connects these places. Today, my Google navigation shows “La Playa” across the Peninsula (not Pt. Loma).

My neighbor in Tunaville tells me his ancestors beached their fishing boats at La Playa in 1915. A 1950 aerial image of La Playa, before the sandbar was connected to develop Shelter Island, shows a hundred boats moored off a beach, extending from [Shelter Island Drive] to Ballast Point.

Following constructions by the U.S. Navy on the western end of La Playa, the remaining part of the beach, from which the area takes its name, began to quickly erode. Rising sea levels guaranty that, unless we take action to prevent it, there will be no beach in La Playa–Unless we take steps to restore and preserve Kellogg beach now, the current real estate speculator’s proposal eliminates the possibility.

Caption reads: ” … 1950 and view of sandbar, soon to become Shelter Island.”

If loss of this valuable and important topographic feature was intentional, I’d feel differently. I don’t lament the absence of the sand bar now called, “Shelter Island”, because I feel this trade-off was conscious and intentional and still provided shelter for boats and beaches. (Albeit I so lament the loss of habitat for aquatic species.)

Erosion of the last remaining beach of La Playa was not intentional: It was the unintended result, when Point Loma Naval Command altered tidal currents by building a rock jetty to protect the Scripps/Spawar docks, coincidentally changing hydraulic dynamics in the bay protected by Shelter Island.

The beaches that gave La Playa its name and prominence were inherited. We have a choice to pass this inheritance on to our grand children. If we don’t, this community will bear the resulting weight of ultra-high-density development, examples of which we needn’t look far to see.

Communities are empowered by state laws to draw the line—to choose urban developments that nurture and serve our families, especially regarding coastal access. But the economics of speculative real estate development make it necessary for communities to be proactive about this or lose their heritage.

Restoration of our public beaches is less difficult than building Shelter Island or the new fuel import docks the Navy recently developed east of the submarine base.

San Diego Bay beaches are the political responsibility of the San Diego Unified Port Commission, which is appointed by our Mayor and City Council members of San Diego and other S.D. Bay cities.

The Navy has previously restored beaches, where its construction and/or operations caused environmental damage, for example, at Los Alamitos, (Seal Beach and Surfside, CA) and the San Diego Port has also been obligated to restore and preserve environmental features in the bay.

Michael Winn is a scholar, composer, writer and filmmaker who resides in Tunaville. He claims to be an ardent kayaker in San Diego Bay, where during the last four years, he’s paddled from Bessemer to the end of the point, and is a keen observer of local natural and human phenomena in the bay.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Mercy March 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Very sad indeed.


Alex March 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

I attended Cabrillo Elementary in the late 50s. I used to visit Kellogg Beach almost every day on my way home. I learned to paint watercolors there. Later I brought my kids there often. It was a quiet haven among few public areas on that side of the point. It must be preserved as part of our history. On or near there the Hawaiian sailors from the time of Richard Henry Dana made an oven for baking bread which was shared in the community. The developer should make view corridors in the design and definitely public access routes to the beach. Do they own the property to the water line? What will they do about sea legal rise?


jlintott March 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

60 years ago, my mother often took me, and a neighbor to Kellogg’s Beach for swimming and exploring in the sand. I was 3 years old. Great memories for sure, like walking out on the concrete pipe (still there). I still go down there with my lawn chair, just to get a little peace. However, There are walls on the beach side of houses which have RECENTLY been extended well beyond the mean high tide mark. Also, curbs have been unfortunately hand painted red in an effort to keep outsiders “out”. Kellog’s used to be called “Mother’s Beach”. I suggest keeping the beach public, well maintained, and this area should remain residential. Same thing for Roseville. We need to protect our neighborhoods with covenants, codes, and restrictions of a well conceived master plan. Future children will want to play on this beach someday. Developers cannot create good neighbors. -JL


jlintott March 21, 2017 at 11:27 am

100 years ago, a beautiful crescent of sand ran from what is now Barnett Street, unabated all the way thru the cove at Ballast Point. This last little bit of peaceful beauty should be considered ABSOLUTELY SACRED. Do not allow it to be given to those who will desecrate, alter, dig, bury, move, OR: enrich themselves by any manner of development in the adjoining properties.. The sand must not be allowed to erode away. All decomposed granite must be replaced with clean sand Let it be cared for, recognized as a monument to the La Playa Trail. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. There is no need for adjoining property encroachments; { extended property lines due to changes of mean high tide}. These property lines need to be rolled back to their original intent, and never attempt to exceed this point in remembrance of the La Playa Trail, (originally) passed on this beach). Governing authorities: The Mayor, Port District, and City Council of San Diego Should be notified. It never hurts to write them a note, especially if these things seem unjust, and disturbing. ASAP.


obDaDa August 10, 2017 at 10:31 am

••• 9+ Millionaire$ wiLL get to LiVe wheRe a FamiLy oF (mega)-Millionaire$ onCe StaYed..
•••• The Developer and Former owners wiLL Make ouT liKe Bandits &
••••••The City caN inCreaSe TaX Revenue wiTh 9 Parcels.
The LoSers aRe the LocaLs aNd eVen polloi-liKe myseLF who found this ” The Small WaVe beach” SuitabLe for Toddlers aNd ReLaxing & PeacefuL Swimming in the BaY.
Ahhh,, (CapitaLisTiC) Progre$$..


Jane August 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Amen-enough is enough! Beautiful spot is meant to be shared.


joe da rosa August 12, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Memories are nice; action – getting after the politicians that will make the decision is better. Lay out a plan!


sarah rosier August 25, 2018 at 10:32 pm

My parents moved from Santa Barbara St to 430 San Antonio St. when I was 9 mos old. That was in 1955. When the Courts on the south side of our house went up for sale, in 1966-67? my family tried to buy the property in order to save it from being developed into an apartment building. We were not successful, the owners refused to sell to us. During the time the Navy was proposing to build their rock jetty that eventually cut away Kellogg’s Beach, the neighborhood home owners were up in arms. It was made abundantly clear what would happen to the beach if the Navy built the jetty/pier. So to say the building of the jetty and resulting erosion of Kellogg’s Beach was unintentional is false. The Navy was well aware of the results of their actions.


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