San Diego

Protesters Say ‘P.U.' to New Public Bathrooms Planned for IB

Imperial Beach homeowners are holding their nose at the city's plan to put public bathrooms and showers by the beach.

IB certainly wouldn’t be the first beach to have brick and mortar bathrooms equipped with showers to wash away. It’s the proposed bathrooms’ proximity to homes that’s upsetting neighbors.

The 450-square-foot bathroom, or “comfort station” as the city has labeled it, is planned for a parking lot at the intersection of Seacoast Drive and Beach Avenue between two condo complexes.

One protestor said the blueprint puts the bathroom less than 15 feet from his dining room window.

“It's going to seem like someone is going to the bathroom in your living room,” HOA President Bob Desmond said.

Assistant city manager Steve Dush met with neighbors Tuesday evening to get their opinion of the proposed project. Most agreed the design is impressive, but the location seemed out of the question. Meanwhile, beach visitors who don’t live nearby are giving the project a thumbs up.

The Port Authority is putting up $1 million to build the public bathrooms and showers.

"Lot of people often use their hoses around the apartments so I think that would be good. They wouldn't have to use their water,” beachgoer Manuel Ortiz said.

Dush says a city study determined the small parking lot between the two condominium complexes was the best place to put it.

"We have all of the odors, all the sound, all the slamming doors waking us up or disturbing our peace,” neighbor Gene Barrow said. Barrow says the comfort station would only be 14 feet from his dining room window.

By many accounts, Imperial Beach gets high marks for recently addressing its image problems. But those living in one of the 36 condos near this proposed bathrooms might say the city is flushing the port's money down the drain.

Dush made it clear the location isn't up for debate, but the design and other concerns like security measures could change between now and when it goes before the council for a vote.

Tuesday’s protest appears to be the beginning of the effort to stop this project from going forward. So far organizers have gathered almost 100 signatures on a petition for relocation of the project.

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