Del Mar City Council approves permit for continued bluff improvement

DEL MAR, Calif. -- The Del Mar City Council on Monday approved a permit for the San Diego Association of Governments to continue its improvement efforts along the bluffs, which have been ongoing since 2003.

Whether in Del Mar or any other San Diego coastal community, people are familiar with bluff failures and the imminent danger they pose. After a bluff collapse killed three people in Encinitas on Friday, residents are feeling the urgency now more than ever.

"Given the recent news on Friday, the tragic news up in Encinitas, it’s clear that we have a bluff stability problem; evidence by why this wall is being built in the first place," said Kaily Wakefield with the Surfrider Foundation.

With the council’s approval, phase four of the long term plan will soon begin. This phase includes a 1.6-mile stretch between Coast Boulevard and Torrey Pines State Beach, where the focus is to stabilize areas with a risk of slope failure. The area is home to a number of rail services that rely on the tracks to serve the public and many believe the project should focus on moving those train tracks away from the edge of the bluffs as soon as possible.

"We feel that for the safety of the beach going public, as well as for the train riders, it’s imperative that the tracks be moved sooner than 2050," said Wakefield.

Council members clarified moving the tracks is still part of the SANDAG 2050 Regional Transportation Plan.

"This is not instead of getting the tracks off the bluff, this is in addition to. We need to do this now so the train doesn’t fall off in the near future," said councilmember Dwight Worden.

The permit will allow access for construction along the beach, bluffs, and private property. SANDAG will have a meeting to inform the residents of more details of this project in September, before work gets started.

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