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Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on May 19 voted unanimously to support the installation of a barrier north of the intersection of Cowles Mountain Boulevard and Rainswept Way. The Cottages condominium complex is accessed from Rainswept, and homeowners requested a barrier to block vehicular access to the area where the boulevard ends.

The dead end has been the site of activities including "dumping large items" and underage drinking, said Ryley Webb of District 7 councilman Scott Sherman's office. Police spent 100 hours responding to calls there last year, and Webb said those endorsing the barricade include the association and the police and fire departments.

The community-planning group left the decision about the type of barrier up to the City of San Diego and the Cottages homeowners’ association. A chain-link fence with a moveable gate would cost $3980, and a barricade is priced at $5580, Webb said. Planners also recommended that the city ask the association to pay part of the cost.

Some land near the dead end belongs to the Cottages. Mission Trails Regional Park is on the other side of the dead-end barrier where a sign warns "No Littering, No Dumping, $1000 Fine."

Before the vote, resident Brett Weiss spoke about "living over the dead end." Debris includes used condoms, and she said "we called HAZMAT to remove" a leaking automobile engine.

Weiss said it was frightening to "see kids on utility boxes throwing roaches and lit matches." Furthermore, she saw "two vehicles with four individuals vomiting out of each one. I guess [the cause] was alcohol, based on the bottles."

"Tonight was a huge victory," Weiss said in an interview. She moved to the Cottages in 1991 and showed me pictures and correspondence that included a May 8, 2007, letter to then-councilman Jim Madaffer.

In that letter, Cottages assistant manager Ronald Ficalora Jr. described activities such as dumping refrigerators and "sex in cars with doors open, beside cars, on top of cars." Ficalora sent pictures that included photos of a drug bust and a city sign declaring "Road Ends 500 Feet." (Weiss said the sign was installed as a remedy to dead-end problems.)

Ficalora asked on behalf of the association for a barricade; the request was denied the following month. Traffic engineer Julio Fuentes wrote that the fire department and San Diego Gas & Electric needed the street open. Instead, the city would "trim vegetation blocking the 'END' and 'No Dumping' signs."

Weiss continued to track activity. Last November, she woke on a Saturday morning to see a dumped mattress. Another time, someone left a couch. On it were bags containing papers with personal information. She went to the address on the papers and discovered the couch owner was evicted. There were more belongings in the yard. After Weiss contacted the landlord, those belongings were dumped at the dead end.

A visit last year from police community-relations officer Holland Tafoya led residents to contact John Pilch, then–San Carlos Area Council president.

"I feel tremendous appreciation for" Pilch's efforts, and those of others including Webb and the Navajo Planners, she said.

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Visduh May 22, 2014 @ 7:42 p.m.

The city government has always treated that part of SD as a "no problem" zone. As a result it got little attention from anyone, especially the police. When I lived in that general area of town, I might see a cop car travel on my street once a year. I joked that they did that to make sure that we didn't slide down the hill into Santee, because they needed the tax revenue. The area has been neglected because it was more affluent than the city as a whole, yet wasn't an area that had any political clout. Did I mention that our city councilman in the 1980 era was Dick Murphy?

I know of the dead end of Cowles Mountain Road, and of that apartment complex that was built about 1984/85. It was ever a mystery where that road was intended to go, and we could only assume that nobody thought it through.

That could be a fairly nice part of the city, but the neglect from police, code compliance, fire, animal control, etc., etc. insure that it stays ragged.


shirleyberan May 23, 2014 @ 12:07 p.m.

I thought my teen was safe in San Carlos till she was detained by police with a bunch of others kids her age. She said she was in a park watching over the vodka somebody left there and told her that she needed to. I know she has friends in San Carlos. Not saying anything but people should keep a better eye on teenage near an open park. Point is I have watched over her constantly and somebody told her there was going to be a good party (in the dark) so she went to a secluded park, early evening, where police know there's drunken activity by minors and crazy adults. You gotta stop it for them. So glad they gave her to me same night from Friars Road where they detained the kids.


CaptainObvious May 25, 2014 @ 11:06 a.m.

Would they prefer it to happen in a park? These things have to happen somewhere, why push them further from cops and hospitals? Cheaper to put in trash cans than to drive them into the canyons. I my day it was Fiesta Island, the crazyness could be contained.


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