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Del Mar Works to Decrease Beach Colony Impacts

With input from about 60 residents, city officials are moving forward with some suggestions to ease the impact summer visitors have on those who live in the Beach Colony. Gatherings were held at five homes throughout February to discuss what went well last year — lifeguards received high marks — and areas where improvements could be made.

In a report presented at the March 3 meeting, the issues were grouped into eight categories: law enforcement, traffic, parking, beach issues, street maintenance, drainage, summer rentals and private property construction. Citing a rise in vehicle break-ins, vandalism and traffic enforcement, residents said the presence of law enforcement needs to be increased. One of the biggest concerns is cars and bicyclists running stop signs on Coast Boulevard, especially at night.

Other traffic concerns include driving the wrong way in the alleys, speeding and double-parking while loading and unloading. Residents said motorists also don’t yield to pedestrians crossing Coast Boulevard and Camino del Mar.

There were numerous issues regarding parking, including employees parking in the Beach Colony neighborhood, problems during drop-off and pick-up times for camp participants and vehicles circling around the neighborhood to find an available space.

City staff members are working to find a solution for employee parking in the beach and downtown commercial areas. They are also researching a suggestion to install signs indicating that on-street parking is full and directing drivers to alternative locations.

Staff will also re-evaluate the pick-up and drop-off locations for the camps to possibly find better solutions to the current situation. A variety of concerns were raised about beach use, including trash, kelp removal and too many youth camps, dogs, tents and shade structures.

Before summer, using existing funds, additional trash receptacles will be installed and the first phase of more aesthetically designed trash containers will be placed at street ends and Powerhouse and Seagrove parks.

Between 50 and 60 concrete containers are needed to replace rubber trashcans throughout the city at a cost of about $40,000, so the project might be done in phases.

Council members said staff should look into limiting where and when dogs are allowed on beaches.

They also said they support a recommendation from Mosier that property owners be responsible for noisy parties at beach rentals.

As for street maintenance, potholes will be repaired as part of an upcoming project. French drains will be installed to alleviate drainage problems at intersections, according to the staff report.

Beach Colony residents also asked that council consider converting some streets in the area to one-way travel only and changing parking restrictions on certain sides of the street for particular days of the week and/or times of day.

Council members said they don’t support those recommendations, especially since they could “open up a bigger can of worms” with the California Coastal Commission, Mayor Lee Haydu said.

Overall, council members said they appreciate the input.

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