8/20/17: Beacon’s Beach Bluffs Bind

I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week!

The main issue at last Wednesday’s City Council meeting was the longstanding problem of the unstable bluffs at Beacon’s Beach in Leucadia. In the early 1980s, a landslide eliminated a staircase and led to the current condition, a natural switch-backed trail that leads down to the beach.

In the last 35 years, we’ve had minor sloughing and instability in the bluff and the city has had several mis-starts and long periods of inaction in finding a permanent solution. The city’s responsibility is to ensure ongoing safe beach access and a safe adjacent parking lot. Any improvements will require Coastal Commission approval.

The city’s last proposal, an “erodible buttress” at the base of the slope, rebuilding with fill soil, and anchoring with “soil cement nails” was rejected by the Coastal Commission in March. The agency expressed that the solution was too much “armoring” of the bluff, which means the amount of erosion isn’t adequate.

The City Council and the public speakers at our Council meeting, including eloquent Surfrider Foundation members, focused on the need for a results-oriented solution, not a process-oriented solution.

One city staffer said after the meeting, “We know we need to land this plane.” In order to do that, the city staff and the consultants will open a dialogue with the Coastal Commission to determine a solution this regulatory body would support – including exploring the possibility of a full staircase, or a partial staircase that links to the dirt trail. The staircases at Grandview and Swami’s demonstrate a successful track record of this type of solution in Encinitas.

Instead of approving the city staff’s request for a $614,000 contract emphasizing “stakeholder coordination” and “project scoping meetings,” we asked staff to return with a preferred solution that the Coastal Commission could support and a proposed contract that would get us through the permitting stage.

There were also a number of issues on our closed session agenda, including the recent legal challenge demanding that Encinitas switch to voting for council members by district, plus our three ongoing lawsuits related to our lack of compliance with state housing laws. Here’s The Coast News story about our good progress on a new housing plan. I’ll tell you more about those items when we’re allowed to discuss them publicly.

And finally, on a somber note, the Sheriff’s deputies are still looking for the motorist who hit and critically injured a woman riding her bicycle along Highway 101 in Leucadia. She was a block from home, headed there after having dinner with her husband, who was riding behind her on a skateboard. I was sickened to hear about this accident. We directed city staff to re-evaluate road safety on Highway 101 in Leucadia, and bring us short-term suggested improvements. Here’s The Coast News story about the accident.

I hope that, like my family and me, you’re savoring the remainder of our spectacular Encinitas summer!

In service,


Dog Days of Summer, an annual summer event co-sponsored by the Cardiff 101 District and the city last weekend, was a great success at its new location in Encinitas Community Park. The C101 and their volunteers did a masterful job of making this popular legacy event a success. I want to acknowledge former Councilmember and Mayor Teresa Barth (upper left and lower right) for introducing Dog Days and spearheading its creation years ago. She’s still tirelessly announcing winners and running the competition, maintaining the great momentum.The Encinitas Community Park is looking lovely right now — lush, leafy trees lining the dry creek bed. It’s well worth a visit! (Photos by Morgan Mallory)