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— And what about parking? Why not change the parallel parking in Bird Rock to head-in parking and gain precious extra spaces along both sides of the street?

At one point during the meeting, one of the city's engineers explained that laying sewer pipe is a very inefficient task. As much as 150 feet per day might be put into the ground in good conditions, but as little as 30 feet might go in if the workers hit hard rock or abandoned underground equipment.

In short, there's no telling how long the jobs might take.

But the City of San Diego is working under a deadline. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented a sewer spill reduction action plan to upgrade the city's sewer system and reduce sewer spills by the end of fiscal year 2005. This means the City has a vested -- and financial -- interest to finish the job and maintain a good relationship with the community of Bird Rock.

Since that first September meeting, the city has addressed many of the concerns raised by Bird Rock businesses, including hiring a public relations officer (Darlene Smith) and setting up an official website (www. hardhatcommunications. com).

After meetings on October 22 and November 19, a work moratorium was put in place for the holidays, continuing through January 5, 2004. A vacant lot was secured along La Jolla Boulevard to provide additional public parking. The City also designated a Water and Wastewater Group Job Hotline (858-573-5081), where residents and business owners can get answers and information.

The next official meeting between the city and Bird Rock business owners is scheduled Wednesday, January 21, 2004, at 2:30 p.m. at Galoka Gallery Restaurant, 5662 La Jolla Boulevard.

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