The short answer:
The gold miners were too busy mining for gold to plan for tourism.
The long answer:
When the town was being built between the 1870s and early 1900s, tourism wasn’t even a thought. Everyone had gold fever. The way the town is laid out easily serves the local population of about 4,000, but it quickly reaches max capacity when a sudden influx of up to 30,000 people come to visit for the day. No one planned for large surges in tourism, extra parking, bathrooms, or modern-day building codes.
Our historic buildings don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
In 2005, a disabled lawyer sued 67 businesses in Julian claiming that he was unable to access their individual businesses and restrooms due to the lack of handicap access. Many businesses had to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves in court. Upgrading the historic buildings to meet today’s ADA requirements isn’t financially viable, forcing the few businesses that have restrooms to close them to the public. Privately owned businesses offering public bathrooms open themselves up to the risk of being sued or are forced to spend thousands of dollars to make the restrooms handicap-accessible.
Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs)
Full disclaimer: I’m no contractor, but from what I understand, every septic system has a max capacity. This figure is divided by the average residential flow to calculate how many Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) the system can support. Moral of the story, Julian’s sewer system EDUs are maxed out. Therefore unless we get millions of dollars to upgrade the sewer system, we can’t add any more bathrooms.
Soliciting is a problem.
On top of the restroom shortage, there are a handful of people who regularly lock themselves into the restrooms for extended periods of time, vandalism is frequent, and there are a few other problems. In an attempt to decrease these problems, the Julian Chamber of Commerce regularly checks the bathrooms throughout the day and promptly closes them every night. We ask users to please clean up after themselves and kindly let the Chamber office know of any problems.
No one wants to look at porta-potties.
In an attempt to add temporary restrooms, the Chamber paid for a few porta-potties to be delivered. After many complaints about them from local residents, the Architecture Review Board, and lodging businesses, the majority of the porta-potties were removed.
Our hands are tied.
While it may seem like nothing is being done about this critical restroom storage, the business community is trying to come up with a creative solution.
We need your help.
Please write letters to the San Diego Board of Directors asking them to address this issue. Julian desperately needs a bigger sewer system, funding to buy land to build restrooms on, and funding to build handicap-accessible restrooms. Julian is located in District 2.
Where can I find a restroom in Julian?
There are public restrooms behind the Julian Town Hall. You can find an additional public restroom outside the Julian Museum. Most establishments that serve food have a restroom for paying customers. As for the shops, they probably do not have public restrooms.