Coast-Canyons council map draws praise at hearing
By Karen Billing
La Jolla residents on Monday expressed support for the favored Coast and Canyons map, which has been absorbed into the preliminary San Diego City redistricting plan.
At the UTC Forum Hall public hearing, La Jolla resident Joe LaCava, the architect of Coast and Canyons, thanked the commission for finding the plan viable.
“You listened to the arguments and our proposal and vetted it against what the city charter required and saw that is the right thing to do for this corner of the city, not just because the residents wanted it,” LaCava said. “Coast and Canyons keeps La Jolla whole and makes it whole for the first time in 10 years.”
In addition to bringing a piece of La Jolla back from District 2, the map also keeps the UC San Diego and University City communities intact and keeps communities of interest together such as Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Torrey Hills and Torrey Pines.
“This plan has kept community planning areas whole, school districts whole and kept the most important coastal communities that affect all of us together,” said Rick Newman of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board.
The preliminary map was approved by the 2010 Redistricting Commission on July 21 with a 5-2 vote.
District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner praised the volunteer commission for reaching the home stretch after 10 long months with a map that reflects San Diego’s diverse communities and accommodates a new ninth district and the city’s growth, “no easy task.”
The UTC hearing was the fourth of five public post-map hearings and more than 40 people requested to speak. The final plan will take effect 30 days after its adoption.
The proposed new District 1 is without Black Mountain Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos and Torrey Highlands, which have shifted to District 5. District 1 also keeps the western portion of the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.
A representative from the scientific community was pleased with keeping their unique biotech and scientific network intact, and Mel Hinton, a past president of the San Diego Audubon Society, said the new map also works from an environmental perspective.
Hinton said the district’s appreciation for the environment and open space habitat is unlike any other and that the communities have worked together to protect it.
Keeping La Jolla and University City from being split apart has been a large effort throughout the redistricting process.
Resident Phyllis Minick said she never knew her community was called South La Jolla until the redistricting process began but said that she was glad that their “little tail on the dog of the general La Jolla area” was kept in District 1. She said being in District 2, their area lost out to the bigger issues in Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach and she said complaints about water lines leaking on Soledad Mountain Road went unheard until it lead to a severe landslide.
She said her “blighted” area of La Jolla will benefit from joining District 1 and told the commission, “Do not waver in the choice you’ve already made.”
LaCava said that there has been some criticism about keeping University City in District 1 but he said it’s important not to split a planning area, an idea supported by several University City residents.
Helen Boyden, a La Jolla resident who has lived close to UCSD for 42 years, was pleased that the university community was “united” in District 1. She said she has experienced all the benefits and problems of living adjacent to campus and it makes sense to keep La Jolla and University City together.
“It’s most important to keep neighborhoods and communities together rather than numerical equality,” said Mike Costello, speaking for himself and not on behalf of his position on the La Jolla Community Planning Association. “I’m pleased to see the adoption of the Coast and Canyons map.”
Moving giant pieces of a city puzzle around has resulted in some areas being pushed out of their current districts and not all reviews of the plan were glowing. There is still frustration with the map plan and the commission heard arguments about Kensington being moved to the new District 9, that San Diego State communities have been divided into three and some Rancho Penasquitos residents hoping for a more logical boundary.
For more on the preliminary map, visit sandiego.gov/redistricting.
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