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San Diego pushing for overnight parking lot closure along coast parks amid crime worries

Chair of Parks & Rec Board says effort needs Coastal Commission approval.
belmont park shooting 07232021.png
Posted at 6:13 AM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 11:43:00-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The beach and surrounding parks stretching from La Jolla to Ocean Beach are a hotbed for fun. But some are saying there are crime concerns at those coastal parks; particularly in some parking lots at night.

“In the shores area as well in the Point Loma area and Mission Bay Park, there have been numerous gang-related activities, shootings especially in Belmont Park,” Marcella Bothwell, President of Pacific Beach Town Council and Chair of the City of San Diego Parks & Recreation Board, said.

According to city documents, there are also concerns with illegal camping and parties happening at these lots overnight.

“The driving force behind this is the safety of the area. We have to have a lot of police presence in these coastal parks,” Bothwell said.

“Basically it’s going to make the area less dense with this activity and kind of gang activity so it’s a more peaceful atmosphere.”

The City of San Diego told ABC 10News in a statement: “The City of San Diego is in the preliminary stages of applying for the renewal of an existing Coastal Development Permit in the interest of public safety that would allow us to continue enforcing parking restrictions at select areas in Mission Bay Park and the coastline. The Parks & Recreation Department has conducted public outreach to local stakeholders for recommendations about how we can better manage coastal parking lots, which may include the installation of additional signage, gates and changes to hours of operation.”

City documents from September 2021 stated that there were gates and/or signage for overnight closures and restrictions already in places including La Jolla Shores Kellogg Park, Tourmaline Surfing Park, Belmont Park/Mission Beach South, South Mission Beach, Ocean Beach Dog Beach Lot, Ocean Beach Santa Monica Lot. Ocean Beach Newport-Pier Lot, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park/Linear Park, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park/Ladera Street Parking Lot, South Jetty/ Mission Point, Crown Point, Fiesta Island, and Fanuel Park.

When it comes to potential new gates and/or signage, documents also state that according to, “recent observations of after-hours activity and requests made to secure those areas at night, the City is considering additional locations for consideration for overnight closure as follows (from north to south)":

  • Torrey Pines City Park and Gliderport
  • Belmont Park/Mission Beach South
  • Ocean Beach Dog Beach
  • Ocean Beach Santa Monica Avenue Parking Lot
  • Ocean Beach Newport Avenue and Ocean Beach Pier Parking Lot
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park/Linear Park
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park/Ladera Street Parking Lot
  • East Bonita Cove
  • Ventura Cove
  • Bahia Point
  • Windansea

“The Belmont Park folk are actually helping pay for some of this because it’s actually hurting their businesses. And so they want to keep their patrons safe,” Bothwell said.

A city spokesperson said nothing is definitive on what will be installed and that there may be some sites that change, regarding the proposed overnight closures at certain locations.

“Now it’s important to note, that this is not shutting down the parks. It’s shutting down the parking lots. So hopefully, this is going to get fewer people, less congregation of elements that are a little more dangerous,” Bothwell said.

The San Diego Police Department told ABC 10News is trying to conduct enforcement at coastal park areas, including parking lots, to ensure public safety and quality of life.

A lieutenant said if parking lots were closed, it would help these situations.

They added that the department does work with Parks & Rec department when it comes to activity in those coastal parks areas and vice versa.