La Jolla Community Planning Association elects new board members, approves bylaw amendments
By Pat Sherman
Eight new trustees will join the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) in April, following their election during the group’s March 7 meeting.
Elected to full, three-year terms are Patrick Ahern, Helen Boyden, Gail Forbes, Bob Steck, Ray Weiss and Frances O’Neill Zimmerman (the latter whom was re- elected after joining the board last year).
Filling out the remainder of departing board members terms are Janie Emerson, elected to a two-year term, and Myrna Naegle, elected to a one-year term.
Tim Lucas, a LJCPA trustee of five years who was serving his final day on the board, encouraged those in attendance to get involved in the community. “Run more than once if you don’t get elected the first time, but keep at it and participate,” Lucas urged.
Trustee Devin Burstein, departing from the board after three years of service, thanked fellow LJCPA colleagues. “It’s really about the work that we all put into it,” he said.
LJCPA officer elections will be held at the group’s April 4 meeting. Despite an earlier announcement by board president Tony Crisafi that he would be stepping down next month, Crisafi said he will stay on as president.
In other LJCPA news
■ Bylaw amendments: The association approved several changes to its bylaws, following words of reproach from LJCPA member Bob Whitney, who took exception to President Crisafi filing an “automatic appeal” on Feb. 4, which was confirmed by trustees during the Feb. 7 meeting (though it did not appear on that month’s agenda).
Crisafi appealed the city’s environmental determination on the proposed Bernate Ticino residence on Virginia Way (site of Irving Gill’s Windemere Cottage, which was torn down in December 2011 via an emergency demolition permit).
The city requested that the LJCPA’s appeal be placed on the March agenda. Trustees voted again to ratify the appeal, 11-0-3. One of the bylaw amendments — which were approved during the meeting by a vote of 36-5-2, but are pending city approval — involved the process by which the LJCPA may appeal an environmental decision issued by the city.
Crux of the amendment: Should the city issue a determination that a project is exempt from environmental guidelines — as its development services department did when finding the Bernate Ticino project was exempt from CEQA (state environmental) guidelines — and the period in which to appeal that determination expires before the next scheduled LJCPA meeting, “the (board) president is authorized to file an appeal based on the president’s judgment after review of the project files and any joint community board hearings.
“Once filed,” the amendment states, “the president shall immediately distribute a copy of the appeal to the trustees. An appeal filed in such a manner is required to be brought to the trustees for confirmation.”
Whitney noted that the LJCPA approved similar changes to its bylaws a year ago, which failed to garner city approval.
A letter to the LJCPA from the city attorney’s office dated April 2012 (provided by Whitney) states, in part, “If you want to use this process, you need to define specifically what an ‘adverse decision’ is. Otherwise, none of the rest of these procedures works: the notice to the applicant, the ability of the president to file an appeal without a vote of the trustees.”
Vice-chair Joe LaCava later told the La Jolla Light, via e-mail, that last year the city merely requested “refinements for clarity and consistency.”
“The city had no objection to the core principals of last year’s bylaw amendments,” he said. Whitney suggested that in instances where the deadline to appeal expires before the next publically noticed LJCPA meeting, trustees should hold a “special meeting” to vote on whether to file an appeal.
Though it was suggested that there is often not enough time to gather all 18 trustees for a special meeting, Whitney countered that city policy allows community planning association presidents to request an extension of time to file an appeal from project managers.
LaCava said he disagreed with Whitney’s assertion that Crisafi’s appeal on behalf of LJCPA trustees violated California’s open meeting policy, the Brown Act, and City Council policy 600-24.
Whitney questioned whether the LJCPA could appeal the city’s environmental determination without first having reviewed the environmental document on the project. He also said the appeal filed by Crisafi was nearly identical to one filed Feb. 4 by the La Jolla Historical Society’s attorney.
Trustee Mike Costello argued that the project had been discussed extensively at the subcommittee level prior to Crisafi’s appeal.
“My concern was that we needed an attorney to help us with this issue,” Costello said. “I asked the La Jolla Historical Society if they could help us and their attorney graciously sent us a copy of their appeal.”
■ Ongoing issue with Prop D: Trustee David Little raised the specter of Proposition D again, noting that the measure overwhelmingly approved by San Diego voters in 1972 — which placed a height restriction of 30 feet on development in the coastal zone — has been interpreted by developers in a way that allows buildings to exceed the 30-foot limit.
Instead of measuring the height of a proposed building from the existing grade (or ground level), for decades many developers have been measuring the height of their buildings from the “finished grade,” or one they create artificially by building up the height of the existing grade with dirt.
Little referred to a 2004 memo on the subject e-mailed to trustees by Crisafi (which can be viewed at bit.ly/Propdmemo). The memo states, in part, that a property owner’s argument that the city can only use the method of measurement listed in Proposition D is incorrect.
“Consequently,” the memo states, “you are correct to apply both height limits to the property, as well as to other similarly situated properties in the coastal height limit overlay zone.”
Addressing the newly elected trustees, Little said, “Imagine the shock of the guy next door who thought he was protected under Proposition D, only to find one morning that he was in the shadow of a 37- foot building. … I would really hope that you take a close look at this as you go through the year making decisions about height measurements.”
■ Prospect Street hotel on hold
It was noted that a boutique hotel proposed for 1020 Prospect St. is on hold until further notice. The applicant pulled the project from the agenda, Crisafi noted. Issues with the number of hotel rooms permited in the Village and the project’s height have been a concern.
■ Parking changes: Trustees approved installation of two-hour parking signs on Glenwick Place and Glenwick Lane. The Traffic and Transportation (T&T) subcommittee unanimously approved the signs in January.
LJCPA trustees also approved relocating two 15-minute parking spaces from Herschel Avenue (in front of the now closed La Jolla Visitor Center) to Prospect Street (in front of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s new Information Center). The switch, also unanimously approved by T&T in January, was pulled for discussion last month by LJCPA trustee Dan Courtney, who noted an increasing paucity of free parking spaces on Prospect.
“We really have to take a comprehensive look at how many spots we have left,” Courtney said. “Basically, what I think we should do is urge the Merchants Association to talk to George’s (at the Cove) and see if they would give up two of their valet spots (to accommodate these 15-minute spots).”
■ Hillel ad hoc findings approved
LJCPA trustees voted to adopt the conclusions of a LJCPA ad hoc committee that met last month to discuss a re-circulated draft environmental impact report on the Hillel Jewish Student Center near UCSD.
The committee found that the retooled report was “deficient and contains major errors and omissions.” (To read more on the ad hoc committee’s findings, visit bit.ly/hillelreport).
After some discussion about the most effective way to present the committee’s grievances to the city, trustees voted to support the findings 10-3-1.
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