Opinion: La Jolla residents on Hillside Drive residents fed up with extant home constructions

Residents on the 7600 block of Hillside Drive said they are weary from withstanding constant construction projects, as revealed by all the patched concrete along the street.
Residents on the 7600 block of Hillside Drive said they are weary from withstanding constant construction projects, as revealed by all the patched concrete along the street. For the past five years, the neighborhood has been littered with orange worksite paraphernalia. At the time this photo was taken April 10, a crew from the City of San Diego was installing a water main at Tyrian Street and Soledad Avenue.
(María José Durán)

Guest Commentary / Opinion / Our Readers Write:

An open letter to San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry: The Hillside Drive neighborhood of La Jolla is being destroyed by incompetent speculative developers and the City of San Diego is allowing this destruction to continue uncontrolled. Please help us put a stop to it, or at least some controls on it.

There are already three homes at the top of Hillside Drive that have been under construction for five years. I’d provide you the addresses, but the developer has failed to post the addresses on his job sites. It is unreasonable for us to live that long with that much disruption. I’ve built 200-bed hospitals faster.

There are now an additional five homes proposed for development in the 7600 block of Hillside Drive. Some are already fenced, and even that fence is already in disrepair!

That means that for the next decade we can look forward to the following neighborhood disruption:

1) Home sizes out of context for the neighborhood, such as 7661 Hillside, which proposes a 5,300-square foot home on a 6,000- square-foot lot.

2) Traffic. Hillside is a very narrow street with no shoulder, no sidewalks and no lights. Now we will throw in another couple of dozen pickup trucks parked along the road. (When we build on hospital or college campuses, we are required to provide offsite parking and to shuttle our workers in and out.)

3) Emergency vehicle access. These guys park without consideration for those of us who live here. What will happen the first time someone dies because an emergency vehicle can’t get through? Who will step forward to say, “I allowed that to happen.”

4) Post-lunchbreak trash. Our street is littered with fast-food bags and empty Red Bull cans.

5) Property damage. During the development of 7666 Hillside, our front retaining walls were destroyed by the workers who parked in front of our home or used our driveway for a turnaround. When I tried to get it fixed, all I heard was “wasn’t me ...”

6) Vehicle damage. Our street is littered with drywall screws and roofing nails. I don’t know anyone who lives on our street who hasn’t suffered at least one flattened tire every few months. Yet no one takes responsibility to clean the road or repair the damage they create.

7) Roadway damage. Hillside Drive may be the roughest road in San Diego. I’ve driven roads in Ruanda that are in better shape. Why? Because these people cut into the road for utility access and then patch back without proper backfill and compaction, and they are not inspected.

8) Abandoned, partially completed projects. When this real estate cycle turns down, many of these guys will default and simply walk away from their projects. We saw it last time, with several half-finished project that lay derelict for 10 years.

9) Our home value drops to zero. Will our property taxes be reduced for the next 10 years while our homes are unmarketable?

Does it really seem reasonable that we should have to live with this for the coming decade? I guarantee you that it will be at least that long.

I’m also submitting a second letter that hits the same points in detail and includes photographic examples. Please study the images. Thanks very much for considering our plight. I know you have lots of us who each have special causes. Gotta be tough to keep up with. Hang in there. I am willing to help.

— The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is an organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system devised by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation toward sustainable design.

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