Children’s pool ruling to be appealed by San Diego City Council

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego City Council will appeal a recent Superior Court ruling that overturned the city’s ban on people accessing the beach at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla during seal pupping season.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Frederick Horn ruled last month that neither the city nor the California Coastal Commission followed correct administrative procedures with the federal government in developing the ordinance. The council voted 7-1 to seek appellate review of the ruling Tuesday.

The one dissenting vote was cast by Council President Sherri Lightner, who represents La Jolla and has defended public access to the area.

Beach access advocates have long argued that the site’s original use as a safe swimming area for youth should be maintained. Last month’s ruling in the case of Friends of the Children’s Pool v. city of San Diego was a huge win for them.

City attorney’s spokesman Gerry Braun said the judge would require cities to get federal government permission before making land use decision on the coast where seals congregate.

Controversy about use of the beach arose when seals moved into the area in the 1990s but before that the Children’s pool was deeded to the city in 1931. Two years ago, several cases of people harassing the seals led to the ban during pupping season — Dec. 15 to May 15. The rest of the year, a rope discourages visitors from nearing the seals.

The Coastal Commission staff argues that water quality in the area is poor because of the seals, so it is not a good place for swimming anyway and there are other beaches nearby with better water quality.

Opponents say that the seal population is booming and they are not endangered or threatened.

The public is still allowed access to the area’s breakwater for walking, fishing or viewing the seals.

Categories: Local San Diego News