Solana Beach City Council revises yearly work plan to include pandemic-delayed projects

SOLANA BEACH — At its April 14 meeting, the Solana Beach City Council received a presentation and made revisions to their fiscal year work plan for 2021-2022 that includes plans for projects delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s fiscal year work plan was never finalized as the city was forced to focus its attention on matters directly related to the pandemic. As such, the plan for this fiscal year includes updates to the last two years of city projects and an updated climate action plan.

After thorough discussion, the plan goes back to city staff for further revisions and additions before being ultimately approved by the council.

Some of the prioritized projects include improvements to La Colonia Park, continued work on the Lomas Santa Fe corridor and updates to city hall.

One of the more controversial additions is the possibility of constructing a pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 in the north end of Solana Beach near Cardiff State Beach.

“On the one hand people are crossing and it’s dangerous and on the other hand, after going through all of that to preserve the view, do we really want an arm with lights on it blocking the view,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said. “So I’m mixed emotions on this.”

To that end the council made revisions to the wording for the project in the work plan so as not to commit to the construction of a pedestrian in the coming fiscal year. Instead, the city will commit to further conversations about a bridge.

“I think there are a lot of things to weigh and I would not want to commit to constructing or going that far at this point,” Councilmember Kelly Harless said.

The draft also includes plans for further implementation of the city’s climate action plan adopted in 2017. The city says it has made considerable progress on their climate plan thanks in part to the Solana Energy Alliance and its plans to soon join with Carlsbad and Del Mar in launching the Clean Energy Alliance.

The city’s top priorities for their climate plan are increasing the number of electric cars on the road by adopting additional building codes that include requirements for infrastructure for electric vehicles as well as increasing residential solar panels and the installation of solar hot water heaters at commercial spaces.

“I think we all understand this is a priority for all of us,” Heebner said. “We recognize the climate crisis, and these are things that we are doing.”

Heebner also suggested the idea of a subcommittee to help to work on some of the priorities the council has with regards to its climate action plan.

One request made by the city’s Climate Action Commission is the addition of a chapter on social equity as it pertains to the climate action plan.

“We think it’s very important that the climate action plan get updated to include a social equity chapter,” said commission member Jonathan Goodmacher. “I noticed that it’s only in there as a unprioritized item, but we think it needs to be prioritized.”

Another update on the city’s work plan will be presented to the City Council before final adoption at a later council meeting.