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Public Works

Public Urged to Use Caution When Near Damaged Ocean Beach Pier

closed gat at the ocean beach pier

Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024

A public notice has been posted on the gates of the Ocean Beach Pier as part of the City's Ocean Beach Pier Renewal project. This is a standard procedure for the California Environmental Quality Act permitting process and the City's Development Services Department Site Development Permit application. The notice refers to the historic designation, demolition and replacement of the Ocean Beach Pier, which is the desired long-term solution for the 57-year-old pier based on input gathered from residents at recent community workshops. This is not a direct result of recent damage to the pier and there are no current plans for demolition.

The pier, which is beyond its useful life, remains closed as a result of repeated damage. It initially closed in October 2023 after being damaged during high surf. In late December 2023, the combination of high surf and king tides caused significant damage to the pier; it lost one pile, a portion of a pile cap and large sections of railing. Please be cautious if visiting the area, especially during high surf and king tides, as the pier could suffer additional structural failure. This could create potential hazards for anyone on the beach and in the water. Per San Diego Municipal Code, it is against the law for anyone to swim, wade, surf or skin dive within 75 feet of any fishing pier owned and operated by the City (SDMC §63.20.16). Due to the current condition of the pier and to ensure everyone's safety, we are asking the public to stay further away from the structure than 75 feet. 

The City has initiated an assessment of the recent pier damage and will work with the consultant to determine potential options for stabilizing the structure. This is the first step in the process, and as of now, there is no timeline for completion. The original plan was to wait until after the winter storm season to conduct a full assessment, but recent damage and upcoming weather patterns have created a new urgency to inspect the pier. We will continue monitoring the situation as the storm season progresses and address any urgent items that may come up.  

The City has hosted a series of community workshops to gather input from San Diegans about what they want to see in a potential pier replacement. During the most recent workshop in September 2023, the City unveiled three preliminary design concepts: The Squint Test, The Remora and The Braid. These concepts feature ideas for specific amenities as previously prioritized by community members, including how the pier meets the land, on-pier viewing areas and public gathering spaces, among others. San Diegans were asked to provide input on the designs through an online survey. Results from that survey will help shape the preferred design concept, which is expected to be presented to the public in the next few months. 

The project is currently in the preliminary engineering and planning phase and still needs to go through additional review, including California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act permitting, other regional agency permitting, design and construction. 

After the preferred design concept is completed, a detailed project schedule and cost estimate will be prepared. Currently, $8.4 million in state funding is designated for the project, and the City will pursue other state and federal grants.