LAZY DAZE AT THE BEACH
My annual overview of summer life in Mission Beach is being posted as the remaining vacation days dwindle leading up to the Labor Day weekend. By now most of the summer visitors from Arizona and the Imperial Valley have returned to their steamy homes still in the 100-plus degree climate zone while we permanent beach residence are enjoying the best of the summer lazy daze.
The past three months have been fairly typical of the summer season with the population in Mission Beach increasing about fourfold adding to the permanent parking problem. The typical year-round resident has at least two cars per unit with reserved parking for one. In the summer the temporary residents often rent a unit for an extended family and friends, each one arriving by automobile with limited parking space on site.
That’s why at night the large parking lots at Belmont Park are nearly full of cars long after the amusement park is closed. Many other visitors park illegally in the narrow alleys and one-way streets often creating a right-of-way obstacle, especially on changeover day usually on Saturday. So we can chalk up parking as a constant issue endured by the permanent residents.
At least this summer had some good news: the invasion of flies has been reduced! This was only possible because the City Council recognized the health hazard and granted special dispensation for a twice-weekly trash pickup exclusively for the beach areas. Why is this necessary when the rest of the city only has once a week trash pickup?
As I mentioned, the summer population in Mission Beach increases fourfold. When the summer visitors are in a hurry to leave after their week’s rental, they dispose of leftover food and beach gear by filling the trash barrels to an overflow. Then the dumpster divers scatter the debris into the alley before a once a week pickup. That explains the invasion of flies.
The local beach news sheet just this week announced the introduction of a garbage can fly trap patented by local Pacific Beach residents to be sold at Ace Hardware stores. It’s not clear exactly how the fly trap works when attached to the trash barrel. If the flies can be captured at the source, it will further relieve the summer invasion.
Another new innovation is the DecoBike rentals. Many of these bike stands are located in the Belmont Park area, along the Mission Beach Boardwalk and in front of local hotels. They are very popular with the tourists as I see dozens of them passing by the front of my house each day. It appears that DecoBike is so popular that the local bike shops have suffered cuts in their income creating complaints from the shop owners when the bike stands are located near their place of business.
Hardly a year goes by without a battle over new development, and 2016 has not been any different. The latest dispute in the city’s building code permits is the two-acre site formerly occupied by the Mission Beach Elementary School on Mission Boulevard closed many years ago. The city Council had previously approved by a vote of 6 to 2 the project of condominiums, but the California Coastal Commission has raised several concerns about adding 63 units to this site.
As expected, local residents have voiced their opposition by pitting anti-density against smart growth. At posting time, the commission’s staff hasn’t thoroughly reviewed the project or met with the developer. That pushes final approval into early 2017, subject to any legal action being filed against the project.
Another long-standing project for development is the Mission Beach plunge. It has been closed for three years pending another lawsuit against the concessionaire for the Belmont Park operation. The litigant claims the lease was improperly granted by the City Council. The estimated cost of $6 million to renovate the plunge and replace the 90-rear-old building has been on hold until legal action has been resolved and clearance from the California Coastal Commission.
Meanwhile the improvements made at Belmont Park over the last eight years have drawn a larger year-round public attendance. That’s good for the local economy and for the neighborhood not to have any abandoned buildings in the area.
So another summer of lazy daze come to a close as the Zonies and Valley People return to their homes. We permanent residents have our boardwalks and streets back to normal. But hey, it is fun to watch the kids playing on the beach and zooming on their trikes and skateboards along the sidewalks.