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Beacons: The Real Story

The proposed solution to ensure beach access at Beacon’s in Encinitas is a hot button issue right now. With a lot of misinformation floating around, we want to take a minute to set the record straight.

  • This is not a new issue being rushed at the last minute, in fact our engagement started back in 2001. We have helped stopped a seawall at that location multiple times, in 2004, 2010, and 2017.
  • We created a position statement for Beacon's in July 2014.
  • We opposed seawalls and other fortification at Beacon's and often times were the only members of the public doing so. Nothing was behind the scenes.  We publicly opposed the seawall and other armor alternatives at multiple city council meetings.  We supported moving the parking lot and supported stairs consistent with the general plan for the park, which was referenced in our 2014 position statement and our 2003 and other letters on the Beacon's EIR to build a seawall.
  • In 2017 we got the City to adopt our position as the new plan to save access to Beacon's, abandoning the seawall in support of stairs instead. By supporting this alternative, we stopped a seawall and preserve access consistent with the State Park General Plan. Here is our March 2017 letter outlining our recommendations.
  • The city's only deviation from the strategy we recommended was a concrete stairway instead of a wooden one. While we thought a wood structure would be a better-looking fit, the concrete seems to be the right call after learning more about it. The concrete stairs will be thinner with half as many pilings going into the bluff, so less bluff disturbance and less visual impacts. Please see the link here for an idea of what the City is proposing.
  • The south end of Beacons is the right location for the stairs, because it is the most stable part of the bluff. Some have suggested stairs that cut across the entire landslide; that won’t work because if you build in front of a landslide, that portion of the landslide has to be secured (meaning armoring). Armoring is not very adaptable on this narrow beach and in the face of Sea Level Rise.
  • At the end of the day, the parking lot is failing and the landslide has a factor of safety of around one, which is not very stable. Something is going to be built here to keep access open, and stairs (whatever they are made of) are much better than a large seawall or buttress. The trick is to ensure access before the landslide collapses again. Once it collapses we will have few if any options, and could end up with a large amount of armoring. Thus destroying the very beach we are trying to protect and access.

Links to relevant docs:

July 2018 Letter

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