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Fight over barbed wire at Kendall Frost Reserve

View of Mission Bay vs. protection against homeless camps and predators

The Coastal Commission has sided with neighbors who say the city's plan to relocate a six-foot tall, 1,000-foot long chain fence topped with barbed-wire would ruin one of the only uninterrupted water views at Kendall Frost Reserve.

Most of the 20-acre marsh is already corralled by chain link fencing topped with barbed wire.

In its current location, the fence is tucked away at the bottom of a slope, leaving a rare slice of sidewalk along Crown Point Drive where the public can view Mission Bay and its wildlife with nothing in between.

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The city proposed to tear down the old fence and put in a new one upslope, in the view-shed of the now unobstructed stretch of sidewalk.

Place

Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve

Fortuna Avenue and Crown Point Drive, San Diego

"That sounds like not only would it cut off any public access to the area but would become an eyesore," said local Crista Mathes. More than 30 people signed a petition opposing the "prison-like" fence.

The city says the move is needed to allow for the expansion of saltmarsh habitat. It's part of a habitat enhancement project the city is mandated to complete as compensation for the discharge of untreated raw sewage into Tecolote Creek during heavy storms in 2016.

Under a settlement agreement with the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the city must restore 2.2 acres of disturbed habitat in Kendall Frost, including the entire slope along Crown Point Drive south of the Crown Point Villas Condominiums.

In addition to moving the existing fence out of wetland habitat, the work includes removing debris and invasive species and planting native vegetation. According to city staff, the parks and recreation department is responsible for long-term management of the preserve.

The commission suggested the city consider a lower fence, like the one at the Tijuana River National Estuary, or only relocating it halfway up the slope so the public can see over it when looking out at Mission Bay.

But the city said a six-foot fence topped with a foot of barbed wire is needed to keep out pedestrians, homeless camps, trash, and predators that threaten nesting birds. And building it mid-slope would harm native plants and reduce the area being restored to where it would not meet the requirements of the settlement order.

The commission disagreed, saying a lower, visually permeable fence can protect both habitat and views. It would deter pedestrians from crossing down the steep slope into the marsh. And the commission says it has never been notified of homeless camps in the reserve or Mission Bay Park. As for predators, the nesting platforms have covers that birds can enter but animals that prey on them cannot.

Approval of the coastal permit last week came with several special conditions to protect coastal waters and nesting birds during construction. The city agreed to submit a new final plan that replaces the six-foot fence for one no taller than four feet with no barbed wire.

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The Coastal Commission has sided with neighbors who say the city's plan to relocate a six-foot tall, 1,000-foot long chain fence topped with barbed-wire would ruin one of the only uninterrupted water views at Kendall Frost Reserve.

Most of the 20-acre marsh is already corralled by chain link fencing topped with barbed wire.

In its current location, the fence is tucked away at the bottom of a slope, leaving a rare slice of sidewalk along Crown Point Drive where the public can view Mission Bay and its wildlife with nothing in between.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The city proposed to tear down the old fence and put in a new one upslope, in the view-shed of the now unobstructed stretch of sidewalk.

Place

Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve

Fortuna Avenue and Crown Point Drive, San Diego

"That sounds like not only would it cut off any public access to the area but would become an eyesore," said local Crista Mathes. More than 30 people signed a petition opposing the "prison-like" fence.

The city says the move is needed to allow for the expansion of saltmarsh habitat. It's part of a habitat enhancement project the city is mandated to complete as compensation for the discharge of untreated raw sewage into Tecolote Creek during heavy storms in 2016.

Under a settlement agreement with the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the city must restore 2.2 acres of disturbed habitat in Kendall Frost, including the entire slope along Crown Point Drive south of the Crown Point Villas Condominiums.

In addition to moving the existing fence out of wetland habitat, the work includes removing debris and invasive species and planting native vegetation. According to city staff, the parks and recreation department is responsible for long-term management of the preserve.

The commission suggested the city consider a lower fence, like the one at the Tijuana River National Estuary, or only relocating it halfway up the slope so the public can see over it when looking out at Mission Bay.

But the city said a six-foot fence topped with a foot of barbed wire is needed to keep out pedestrians, homeless camps, trash, and predators that threaten nesting birds. And building it mid-slope would harm native plants and reduce the area being restored to where it would not meet the requirements of the settlement order.

The commission disagreed, saying a lower, visually permeable fence can protect both habitat and views. It would deter pedestrians from crossing down the steep slope into the marsh. And the commission says it has never been notified of homeless camps in the reserve or Mission Bay Park. As for predators, the nesting platforms have covers that birds can enter but animals that prey on them cannot.

Approval of the coastal permit last week came with several special conditions to protect coastal waters and nesting birds during construction. The city agreed to submit a new final plan that replaces the six-foot fence for one no taller than four feet with no barbed wire.

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Stories Tim Brookes wrote for the Reader
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We've got a clear view of the Pacific running to the edge of the earth
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