Solana Beach Council OKs bluff repairs


With El Niño brewing in the equatorial Pacific, Solana Beach recently approved a bluff maintenance project in time for what could be an unusually wet winter.

The Solana Beach City Council on Aug. 25 unanimously approved a permit for repairs to the concrete plugs in five sea caves and the filling of a clay notch to mitigate the erosion of the bluff, where houses and condominiums sit at the edge of the sea.

If also approved by the California Coastal Commission, the work would be covered by the Solana Beach and Tennis Club, a 152-condomium complex on Sierra Avenue at the top of the bluff, which was constructed in 1973 before the city’s incorporation.

“Everyone in this room really wants to keep the beaches safe for our community and our visitors, near and far,” said Danielle Koelbl, a resident of the complex.

In 1996, Solana Beach approved a permit to fill the five sea caves. The infills were constructed in 1998. Since then, monitoring reports were provided to the city in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2005.

With repairs needed, residents of the complex in 2013 requested approval for the repair of the five concrete infills, including the installation of steel reinforcements and structural “shotcrete” (sprayed concrete) infill material. Although they received approval from the council, the California Coastal Commission opposed the construction of high-strength concrete for sea cave and notch infills incorporating steel reinforcement.

Since that time, the city’s Local Coastal Plan and Land Use Plan have been amended and the project plan has also been revised. The council-approved plans now include several new shoreline protective device designs, including erodable concrete, as well as the addition of a new seacave infill.