Despite a push by San Diego County supervisor Greg Cox to approve it, on January 14 the California Coastal Commission shot down the Solana Beach & Tennis Club’s attempt to get permission to fill in five sea caves on the ocean bluff with concrete.
The homeowners’ association for the 152-condominium project is pushing for 110 feet of infill on the bluffs where the commission staff report says there are already 250 feet of concrete infills. The group says its plan involves using concrete formulated to erode at the same rate as the bluffs. If it doesn’t erode the way promised, the commission wants a promise that the concrete will be removed — something the homeowners seemed reluctant to agree to do.
“This is a de facto seawall,” said Julia Chunn-Heer, policy manager for Surfrider San Diego. “The commission’s policy is to reserve seawalls for when they are unavoidable and necessary.”
The approximately 80-foot-tall sandstone bluffs have eroded around the base where waves smack into them, and each bit of erosion makes a new gouge possible until the bluff above turns into an overhang. The natural process brings sand to the beach — at the expense of threatening the buildings above.