What’s Happening With OB and Sunset Cliff’s Parking Lots?

by on April 19, 2023 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

What is happening with the parking lots in Ocean Beach and along Sunset Cliffs? Notices, like the one pictured above from one of the lots along Sunset Cliffs Blvd. south of Point Loma Avenue, were posted at all the local beach parking lots. The postings may not have been noticed because many were not well secured.

What does not make sense is that these lots have been posted as closed between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. for years, the signs are there. So why this permit application? As it turns out, existing permits for the lots have expired or will soon.

Why is a permit needed? Any proposed restrictions to the public’s right of free access to the ocean must be reviewed and approved by the California Coastal Commission. Protecting public access to the beaches is a core function of the Commission.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has made requests over the years to close parking lots during late night hours because they received complaints and requests to do so from the public. There have been problems with overnight camping and late-night partying with its attendant noise, litter, and public urination.

The problems seem to have gotten worse in recent years, possibly attributable to social media drawing people to the oceanfront. The loudest complaints have been from residents along Sunset Cliffs Blvd. from Point Loma Ave. to Ladera Street at the south end. These complaints were the impetus for the OBPB requesting specific actions from the city, some of which may come to pass.

The lots along Sunset Cliffs Blvd., the pier parking lot, the lifeguard station parking lot, and the Dog Beach parking lots were the ones the OBPB was concerned about. However, the Coastal Development Permit application is not just for those lots.

The local Coastal Commission office was very helpful in providing documents and information about what is happening. The City’s permit application is for 28 beach and bay parking lots from Torrey Pines to La Jolla to Pacific Beach to Mission Bay to OB and Sunset Cliffs.

The proposed hourly restrictions vary considerably. The closure hours for Torrey Pines City Park would be from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Closure hours for the two lots in La Jolla would be from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Lots in Pacific Beach would be closed from 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. like Sunset Cliffs.

The closure hours proposed for the Dog Beach lot would be from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The closure hours for Sunset Cliffs Natural Park on Ladera would be from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Most of the other lots would be from 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Two OB parking lots, the pier lot and the Santa Monica lot by the lifeguard tower, have proposed closure hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. These two lots also have a proposed 4-hour parking restriction from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The permit application also includes proposed security gates, two at the Dog Beach lot and one at the Ladera Street entrance to Sunset Cliffs Park already has two gates. The estimated cost for the Dog Beach lot gates is $30,000.

Twenty of the 28 lots in the permit propose security gates. Almost every lot in Mission Bay, and there are several, show proposed closure hours of 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. and security gates. The obvious question is, how will they open and close all those gates every day? And, how will the posted hours be enforced at lots without gates?

One of the documents provided was “Crime Statistics.” It was broken down by each park. There were very few crimes listed at the OB and Sunset Cliffs lots, most involving alcohol or drugs, several were for stored and impounded vehicles, there was a minor curfew violation. These were all misdemeanors with one felony exception for vandalism.

The park with the most crimes listed was the Ladera Street entrance to the park. It included “state of emergency violations” or violations of COVID restrictions, vandalism, stored vehicles, etc. The most serious one was listed as aggravated assault “Exhibit Deadly Weapon other than firearm.”

When asked about the permit application, the city responded as follows:

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department is pursuing a comprehensive update to the permitted hours of operation and closure of various shoreline parking lots in response to a rise in crime rates at these lots. The hours of operation and closure were previously permitted by the California Coastal Commission (Commission) as development regulated under the California Coastal Act. The existing permits have or will expire, and a new permit is required to allow for continuation and/or modification of hours of operation and closure at these lots. The City is seeking a new 10-year permit from the Commission to operate these shoreline parking lots consistent with the Coastal Act and the public safety needs of the community.

An exact hearing date has not been determined. It is expected the permit application will go to hearing late in the current calendar year.

The city has already approved the project. Anyone wishing to protest any of these actions can still do so by contacting the Coastal Commission where the permit will be finally approved or rejected.

This is the contact information provided on the permit application, for any questions or comments.

Cherlyn Cac
2150 Pan American West, MS 39
San Diego, CA 92101

Andy Field
2125 Park Blvd., MS 39
San Diego, CA 92101

Karen Dennison
2125 Park Blvd., MS 39
San Diego, CA 92101

Daniel Daneri
2125 Park Blvd., MS 39
San Diego, CA 92101

Mike Rodrigues
2125 Park Blvd., MS 39
San Diego, CA 92101


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cliff Rat April 20, 2023 at 11:12 am

There’s no reason that the Cliffs’ parking lots should be open after 11:00pm. The trolls just leave their trash and keep the locals awake at night.


Geoff Page April 20, 2023 at 8:21 pm

I have to admit I was surprised at those hours. The complaints from people in this area have been loud and numerous, this won’t solve anything at all. Closing much earlier might actually discourage the kind of activity that has been going on down there. As long as the police enforce it.


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