If you’ve ever ventured to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, you’ve likely noticed the old lifeguard structure that sits atop the bluff. The historic building has been a staple in the beachside city since 1944. However, after nearly 73 years, the old building has reached its retirement. It was finally deemed unusable by the Solana Beach Marine Safety Center — primarily due to safety hazards.
On June 14, the city council heard three different options for the future of the Fletcher Cove lifeguard station. The first was replacing it with a cluster of smaller buildings. The next option was renovating and expanding the existing building. And the final option was bulldozing the existing structure and issuing a complete rebuild.
Decision and Future of the Project
Deliberation on the matter was not a very long process. That same day, council members reached a unanimous decision to tear down and rebuild the structure.
While the decision was quick, many issues remain for the future of the structure. Of top concern is the cost, projected to be upwards of $4 million. Another concern is the size, with a rough blueprint showing a 4,770 square foot, two-story facility. A building of this magnitude could reduce the size of the current recreational area many residents enjoy using. Moreover, a structure of this size would entail building a $450,000 seawall and a $410,000 stairway for lifeguards to access the beach. The proposed seawall could present an issue for the San Diego Surfrider Association and potentially for surfers who like to paddle out in Solana Beach.
Several residents and council members in attendance are pushing for more research and a more thorough cost analysis before any final decisions.
City Manager, Greg Wade, proposed a way to fund the project by drawing from the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax. As discussed in our short-term rental article, the tax is collected from guests staying at local hotels and vacation rentals.
We will be keeping a close eye on the different options and funding sources for the new structure as this will certainly have an impact on both residents and tourists alike.