By Dave Schwab
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.