OCEANSIDE — The city will not be considering limited hours for Oceanside Pier any time soon, after city staff discussed evening closure of the pier last month.
City Manager Michelle Skaggs-Lawrence sent an email to the City Council members last Thursday that stated pier “crime, camping and cleanliness issues” will be monitored to collect more data.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and assess the additional costs for maintenance and patrol,” Skaggs-Lawrence said.
The email follows last month’s proposal by city police and maintenance staff at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting for limited pier hours.
Staff recommended adding a lockable gate and closing the pier from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Pier closure would reflect the closing time of Ruby’s Diner, located on the end of the pier, and starting time of city maintenance crews.
The catalyst for the recommendation is sanitation issues that occur in the late evening hours, which go beyond simple cleanup. City Public Works Manager Kiel Koger described fish scraps and human waste that staff needs to clean by hand, because environmental regulations do not allow debris to enter the ocean. The problem was called a “quality of life issue.”
“It’s more to do with a clean-up issue,” Police Captain Fred Armijo said, during the commission meeting. “To come across that stuff does not leave the greatest impression of the city.”
It was also shared that there are other city piers that have limited hours.
There was one objection to pier hours at the commission meeting. Oceanside resident Jimmy Knott said pier closure would penalize anglers and walkers.
“The actions of a small minority of people punishes the vast amount of Oceansiders, that’s unfair,” Knott said. “It destroys 100 years of history, and public rights.”
The commission majority recommended evening closure of the pier.
Following the meeting the city received numerous requests that the pier remain open 24/7.
The California Sportfishing League joined local anglers to object to pier hours.
A “Save the Pier” Facebook page was set up that received more than 300 likes, and “Save the Pier” T-shirts were printed.
“Closure of the pier would have been too drastic of a measure,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “There are other things we can do to protect the public.”
Councilman Jerry Kern held a meeting last Friday with police officers; George Osborn, the legislative advocate for the California Sportfishing League; Deputy City Attorney Annie Perrigo; and Sanchez.
The meeting focused on police patrols, and urging anglers to report any unwelcome activity. Security cameras were also discussed.
Additionally, cutting boards to clean fish were suggested to maintain cleanliness.
“The purpose of this meeting was to solve the issues of transients, and keeping the pier cleaned and maintained,” Kern said. “My goal was not to have this meeting again next year because of these issues.”
Following the meeting a post on the “California Sportfishing League” Facebook page shared the good news that the pier will remain open 24/7.
“For anglers who don’t own boats, piers are their only access to fishing and better yet, no fishing license is required. Thank you Oceanside anglers for inviting us to join your efforts. Keep fishing.”
While pier hours are off the table, council will consider limiting pier plaza hours in June.