SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday against a city plan to maintain a year-round rope barrier to protect Harbor seals at the Children's Pool in La Jolla.
The vote after a nearly three-hour hearing nullifies a September decision by a city hearing officer in favor of the year-round rope, something that was supported by the previous City Council -- but rejected by Mayor Jerry Sanders.
A rope, which extends 130 feet of the 133 feet of access at the Children's Pool, is kept up during pupping season, which runs from Dec. 15 to May 15. That was not affected by today's decision.
The years-long controversy has pitted residents who want to use the area as originally intended, a safe bathing area for children, against environmentalists who want to protect the seals who gather on the beach.
Commissioner Tim Golba said coastal regulations ban things that impinge on beach access, and the rope leaves only three feet for people to get to the Children's Pool, even when the seals aren't weaning their young.
"That's encroachment to me," Golba said.
Supporters of the year-round rope said it was "just a guideline" that does not stop people from going onto the shore.
City officials are working to hire a permanent park ranger for the Children's Pool. The ranger would be expected to educate the public about the seals and, for at least part of the day, ensure some separation between humans and the marine mammals.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.
A man, possibly armed, and holed up inside a home in the Bay Park community for about four hours Saturday surrendered to police without incident.
Vacationing homeowners were hit by thieves in Mira Mesa, but thanks to a smartphone app, the crooks did not get away with it.
Signs warning people to stay out of the water are once again posted in Imperial Beach after a new spill from Mexico dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River - polluting the South Bay.
Two defense contractors were sentenced to prison Friday for conspiring to steal more than $3 million worth of medical equipment from Camp Pendleton that the military had planned to ship overseas to treat injured Marines.