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La Jolla Cove Fireworks Show Canceled Due To Lack Of Permit

People look at the sea lions hauled out on a beach near La Jolla Point on Jun 29, 2021.
Erik Anderson
People look at the sea lions hauled out on a beach near La Jolla Point on Jun 29, 2021.

La Jolla will not have a July Fourth fireworks display this year because backers of the idea didn’t secure all the needed permits.

The La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation hoped to revive the patriotic display which last happened in 2017. Money issues killed the show in 2018 and 2019. The pandemic kept it from happening last year.

RELATED: Worries Over Nearby Sea Lions Could Derail La Jolla’s July 4th Fireworks Show


“City staff has made every attempt to find a safe, legally sound path to hold the fireworks display despite the short timeline,” said city spokesman Dave Rolland. “The City did not receive a permit application for the event until June 10, leaving insufficient time to process the necessary authorizations, including a Coastal Development Permit, which requires a 60-day notice and a public hearing.”

City officials say they are willing to work with the group to find another location, but any location inside the coastal zone will need coastal commission approval.

“While we know this is frustrating, the City must follow all applicable laws and regulations to safeguard residents and environmentally sensitive lands,” Rolland said.

The news comes as a relief to the people who raised concerns about the launch site's proximity to a sea lion rookery.

RELATED: San Diego Mayor Will Not Close Public Access To La Jolla Sea Lion Rookery


The marine mammals haul out on the rocky shore around La Jolla Point, and the local Sierra Club worried the fireworks would scare the animals putting newly born pups at risk.

“We’re very happy with that,” said Richard Miller of the Sierra Club. “We’ve always thought that that (permits) may be one of the requirements for fireworks there at the cove.”

Federal officials declared the region a sea lion rookery in 2019 and federal law prohibits anyone from disturbing sea lions.

“The environmental situation there has changed dramatically and I don’t think they took that into consideration,” Miller said.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took no position on the fireworks display and the sea lions.

KPBS reached out to the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation seeking comment. Calls were not returned.

Meanwhile, the Animal Protection and Rescue League has filed suit in superior court to stop any fireworks shows there in the future.

The group was in court earlier this week asking for an injunction to stop this year’s fireworks from happening.

An attorney for the group said they will likely ask the court to put any future fireworks shows on hold until the lawsuit is resolved. That could take more than a year.

Video: La Jolla Cove Fireworks Show Canceled Due To Lack Of Permit