Del Mar to preserve historic bathhouse pilings seldom seen by the community

The Casa Del Mar Bathhouse pilings located at the foot of 11th and 12th streets, as shown at the city’s April 1 City Council meeting.

By Claire Harlin

There are some concrete structures on Del Mar’s beach at the foot of 11th and 12th streets that are said to hold some aesthetic value, that look “Stonehengey,” said Councilwoman Sherryl Parks, but they likely haven’t been noticed by many because they are only visible only during the middle of winter and extremely low tides.

These pilings, originating from the Casa Del Mar Hotel Bathhouse that once stood on the beach, were declared historic and leased in 1988 by the City Council when the State Lands Commission (SLC) sought to demolish them. On April 1, the council voted to renew its lease of that land — a lease that costs nothing but requires about $3,000 in permit fees. Had they not renewed the lease with the state, the city would have had to fund the removal of the pilings.

“I’m a regular on the beach and I was shocked to actually see them,” said Assistant City Manager Mark Delin about the pilings, which look like a line of rocks in the sand that run parallel to the coastline. “I had no idea what this lease was about.”

The issue came up when the SLC recently gave notice that it would like Del Mar to renew the 25-year lease.

“So, we are being asked to preserve something we can’t see?” asked Councilman Don Mosier.

Councilwoman Lee Haydu replied, “But we don’t want to remove something we don’t see either.”

Mayor Terry Sinnott said it’s unfortunate that the historical site has gone unnoticed and that perhaps some educational signage would benefit the community.

“If we go through all the trouble to designate a historical area, it might be nice to have something for people to understand it,” he said.