BlipsNews Briefs

Blips on the radar, June 5 edition

Santa Barbara oil spill forces recreational fishing closures

What Happened: Recreational fishing activities along and near the Santa Barbara coast were shut down last month due to a May 19 oil spill. The spill resulted in officials closing off to recreational anglers an estimated 161 square miles of Pacific Ocean a few hours north of Los Angeles.

According to news reports, about 105,000 gallons of crude oil contaminated a stretch of ocean off California’s Central Coast. A similar stretch of Santa Barbara’s coastline was hit hard by an oil spill in 1969, when a pipeline owned by Union Oil broke and spewed about 3 million of crude into the ocean.

An undetermined number of lobsters were killed by the oil spill; kelp was also adversely impacted, according to news reports.

The Ocean Conservancy reported May 22 the expanding oil slick threatened at least two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which were established by state and federal officials to conserve fish species, lobster and other marine life. In all, there are four MPAs within 30 miles of the oil spill, according to Ocean Conservancy.

“The currently 4-mile long oil slick puts 10 years of cooperation between fishermen and conservationists to protect the state’s marine crown jewels at risk,” said Greg Helms, the fish conservation program manager at Ocean Conservancy. “The threat that this oil spill poses to important locally harvested species like sea urchin, squid and lobster as well as marine mammals and seabirds, and the Naples Reef and Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Areas that serve as their feeding and breeding grounds concern us.”

Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline owns the ruptured underground pipeline and reportedly took responsibility for the accident, according to BBC News. The BBC report added Plains All American Pipeline will pay for the cleanup.

What’s On Tap: The U.S. Coast Guard spearheaded cleanup efforts. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has not yet announced when recreational (and commercial) fishing will resume in the area affected by the oil spill. The Log will provide in depth coverage as data becomes available of the oil spill’s impacts.

Developer for Mariners Bay Apartments receives loan approval

What Happened: A real estate firm planning to renovate Mariners Bay Apartments in Marina del Rey has reportedly locked in a loan worth nearly $100 million to acquire the residential property and upgrade its 379 units and 409 boat slips.

Legacy Partners Residential reported in mid-May it received a $96.4 million loan to acquire Mariners Bay Apartments, which was built in 1975 and sits on a 19-acre property

What’s On Tap: Work on Mariners Bay Apartments is reportedly scheduled to begin this summer and take three years to be complete.

Port of San Diego approves lease for Carnitas’ Snack Shack

What Happened: Carnitas’ Snack Shack will expand its operations and open a new café on San Diego’s waterfront, as the Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners approved a lease for the restaurant to stake a claim along the city’s North Embarcadero.

Commissioners approved the new lease at its May 12 meeting. Carnitas’ Snack Shack, which reportedly offers locally-sourced food ingredients and beer, already operates two locations in the San Diego area, including its original North Park location (opened in 2011) and a second eatery in Del Mar (opened in 2014).

The lease was approved as part of the port’s North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. Phase 1 of the plan broke ground in 2012 and opened to the public in November 2014.

North Embarcadero Visionary Plan covers the waterfront between Navy Pier and B Street Pier

What’s On Tap: Carnitas’ Snack Shack will open either later this year or early next year at 1004 N. Harbor Drive. Construction is expected to take six months to complete.

Changes to parking meter program approved by Port of San Diego board

What Happened: The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners, in a move to increase public access to the harbor’s urban waterfront, officially approved 520 solar-powered parking meters to be installed at and around Downtown San Diego’s coastal edge. Commissioners initially approved the parking meters in April but finalized the approval May 12 to include as many stakeholders in the public process as possible.

The Smart Meters will allow those driving into San Diego to visit the harbor to pay between $1 and $2.50 per hour at the soon-to-be-installed parking meters.

Parking rates could be adjusted based upon market demand at local garages and lots, according to port staff.

Other changes approved by the board include adding Sunday enforcement of parking meters to ensure space turnover during busy weekend hours; and shifting the hours of enforcement from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. to align with common business hours.

What’s On Tap: Smart Meters are expected to be fully installed at some point during the summer season. Port staff said the new parking meters will be installed at parking lots in the North Embarcadero, Tuna Harbor and Ruocco Park, while Shelter Island and Embarcadero Parks North and South will continue to operate traditional parking meters “for the time being.”

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