Copley construction raises neighbors’ concerns

Neighbors of David Copley are upset about construction on his property. Courtesy: Mike Pallamary

Neighbors say the changes are affecting their property near this construction fence. Courtesy: Mike Pallamary

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Construction activity at the Copley properties on La Jolla’s Country Club Drive has neighbors questioning what’s going on.

The Copley estate has been processing two projects, the ongoing remodel of 7007 Country Club Drive and a lot line adjustment between 7007 Country Club Drive and the adjacent vacant 25-acre parcel over the last 18 months.

Several residents in The Summit, a high-end development near David Copley’s residence on the top of the hill overlooking the canyon and ocean, have raised the red flag over the work. Kent and Barbara Freundt have enlisted the services of land-use consultant Michael Pallamary of Pallamary & Associates, to represent them.

In an e-mail, Pallamary said he’s been trying to ascertain the long-term plans for the various Copley properties, but to no avail.

“In spite of my efforts, he (Copley) and his consultants have not responded to my inquiries … This has been complicated by the fact that Mr. Copley own/controls his property(s) through various forms of ownership and it is a bit of a challenge to figure out under what entity he is advancing his development plans. … It is my opinion, and the obvious perception of my clients and others, that these projects and perhaps others, are all associated with each other like the convenient pieces of a puzzle.  Such an action would appear to violate the Municipal Code.”

The construction has also gotten the attention of two other neighbors, Norman Sarkin and David Frerker, both of whom say the changes being wrought are objectionable.

“He’s (Copley’s) developing parking lots and structures and putting up a concrete fence, when they should at least put up a green fence which will mix with the undergrowth of the canyon,” said Sarkin, who expressed fear that the construction is disrupting the natural environment in the area and its plentiful wildlife which he described as “probably the last canyon we’ve got left in La Jolla.”

“I would just like to see the status quo,” added Sarkin. “If he leaves everything alone — I would be happy.”

Frerker said he is concerned about erosion and dirt washing away from the development as well as “the bigger picture.”

“Realtors have told me Copley’s mom had said this (undeveloped land) was going be donated at her death to be open space forever. And, lo and behold, that obviously didn’t happen.”

Frerker thinks Copley should come forward and make his intentions known to the community.

“There should be a full hearing at La Jolla Town Council where people are invited to hear what’s going on with the long- and short-term plans and be involved in the discussion,” he said.

Joe LaCava, president of La Jolla Community Planning Association which makes land-use recommendations to the city, said the city is aware of complaints about Copley construction activity and is investigating.

“The Copleys have filed an application to make some changes to the property, like expanding the garage, and that public notice went out,” LaCava said. “People have observed some grading and landscaping activities that seem to be a little bit beyond what might be appropriate for that particular home. The city is taking complaints very seriously and they went and inspected the property and found that construction activity at the house is starting to spill over into the adjacent undeveloped lot.”

LaCava said Copley has been informed by the city that the grading activity may be illegal.

“The city is evaluating that grading and thinking about what might be appropriate mitigation measures, and we will wait for them to decide what they want (Copleys) to do,” he said.

The Copleys could not be reached for comment.

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Jan 16, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

11 Comments for “Copley construction raises neighbors’ concerns”

  1. So, a private property owner wants to make some improvements/changes to his private property. Ok, sounds perfectly normal to me. Except the property owner is a noteworthy individual in town, so everyone seems to feel like they can tell them what to do?

    “I would just like to see the status quo,” added Sarkin. “If he leaves everything alone — I would be happy."

    Seriously?

  2. Trent Anderson

    I had to drive up to see it for myself. It is so much worse in person. The poor people who share the driveway with Copley have absoloutely no room to turn their cars around. It is like they are imprisoned in their own home. I tried to turn my car around in the very small space alloted and it took me 10 minutes to back my car out and not hit any of the neighbor's bushes or fences. It is a travesty!!!

  3. Nicole pieyney

    I have worked and known people who have worked with Copley in the past. He is nothing but a bully. He cares nothing about his neighbors and only about himself. Start thinking about someone besides yourself. You are new to the neighborhood. Let all of the people that have lived in that neighbor for years and have had their lives disrupted alone!! You put up a fence in the middle of the road. You put no parking and tow signs right outside of their front door. What is wrong with you?? Try to be happy and let others be happy. Control of others will never satisfy you or anyone, let go David,learn to like yourself, no, learn to love yourself, life is so much more living that way!,,,,,

  4. Robin Conner

    Bethany,
    I think you didn't read the article, read it again. That is the point, no one knows if everything is by the book, no one knows if he has the proper permits. Why are you defending something you know nothing about, obviously no one knows everything yet. Why don't you drive up there and learn how to drive, read the article Bethany!!! There is obviously an investigation going on, do you know what that means?? It means, there is an investigation going on!!!!!!!!!

  5. Erika Chang

    This isn't simply "a private property owner making improvements to his property," but pure gluttony. How can anyone compete with a half-billion dollar net worth? I think that further investigation is warranted. The no parking signs Mr. Copley has posted on the street aren't even legal, and how do you begin to justify the harassment of visitors that park on the street? What country do we live in? Is this still America? Then I say we all stand up and say NO to this bully! Wake up! This is about justice, pure and simple.

  6. dave carpenter

    I have known Kent and Barbara Freundt for over 30 years and know they would be open to any reasonable solution to this untenable situation. The best for all concerned would be for someone who has influence with Mr Copley to see if they can encourage him to sit down at the table. Failing that, one has to believe the city will get to the bottom of all this, and Mr Coply might not like the outcome. DRC

  7. Dave Beed

    I had to see this neighborhood for myself. If any one goes to the trouble of looking at the site they would be concerned if their house was next to this fence especially when there is no place to park or turn around. As for those houses with garages that have to negotiate the fence and the loss of space I have to question how the city could permit the plans in the first place. I doubt a fire truck could even negotiate the path to a couple of the houses. If Copley can't see the error of his plans and his current attitude I hope the city has some common sense and helps him become a neighbor.

  8. Carl Spackler

    How is David Copley allowed to freely harass his neighbors to the point that he refuses them use of a public road? This road has been in use since before anyone in Copley’s family even owned the property. There is no way anyone should be allowed to claim possession of it and block other people’s use of it.

    If I were this family, I would hope for some friendly demolition experts to permanently remove all obstructions from the road!!!

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