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Our Readers Write: UCSD’s Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood brings support and objections

Students at UC San Diego
A student likes that the planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood would add campus housing at UC San Diego, but a local leader says the community hasn’t had enough say about its potential impacts.
(File)

Letters to the editor:

UCSD student supports Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood

I am a third-year student at UC San Diego. I am also the associate vice president of local affairs in UC San Diego’s student government. In my time on campus, I have enjoyed becoming part of the community — visiting the beach, eating at local restaurants and admiring the beauty of La Jolla. I am grateful to have been able to spend my college years in such a beautiful town.

I have read that some people in the community wonder what the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood will mean for their quality of life. I wanted to express a student perspective on this, because the project, with its increase in campus housing, will only improve the quality of life for students at UC San Diego.

After a complicated discussion at the Sept. 3 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting about UC San Diego’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, the group voted to send a letter to the UC Board of Regents asking that it withhold its impending vote on the project until the community has a chance to hear about the development in a public forum.

This project provides some very important benefits for students. A college degree is incredibly important for success in the world today, and with the increasing cost of education, public schools like the UCs are more important than ever. Stable housing is a critical factor to a student’s success and well-being while pursuing that degree. Student experiences have displayed that the lack of secure housing reduces student retention and success. While pursuing their education, students deserve to have safe and secure housing; the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood will allow more students to live on campus longer, expanding the supply of stable housing for students at UC San Diego.

On a personal note, living on campus at UC San Diego was a life-changing experience for me. It was my first taste of independence, living away from home. It was a place of excitement and learning. I would wander around the campus, listening to music and exploring new areas. Everything I needed was in walking distance. I could go to Ocean View Terrace to get a pizza, then head to Geisel Library to study or go to the gym at RIMAC. I made amazing friends, joined clubs and made memories to last a lifetime.

The Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood will allow for more students like me to experience this essential part of college life and to more deeply connect to the UC San Diego community. I urge the neighboring La Jolla community to support this project, which ensures that students have access to necessary on-campus housing and to the on-campus community that is such an integral part of the college experience.

Abbey Reuter

What does UCSD not want us to know?

Why did UC San Diego pull out of the community forum scheduled for the Sept. 3 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting?

UC San Diego has pulled a presentation and Q&A scheduled for the Sept. 3 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting to discuss its planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, and community leaders aren’t happy.

This community forum was agreed to by all parties at a meeting Feb. 28. It was further confirmed and endorsed by Chancellor [Pradeep] Khosla with Councilwoman Barbara Bry on April 14. This forum was for all the community to be able to hear about the UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood project — its pros, its cons, to ask your questions and to have the LJCPA trustees deliberate on TDLLN. So why did UCSD suddenly withdraw?

What is it that UCSD does not want us, the community, to know? We live here. We work here. We love our community. We, the citizens of La Jolla, will be here long after the people making these decisions at UCSD have left their jobs and moved elsewhere. We are the most important stakeholders.

Why does UCSD refuse to participate in a public community forum, to hear from and work with us on this project?

Let me be clear. UCSD brings many benefits to our community that we all enjoy. The La Jolla Shores Association is not opposed to UCSD. We are opposed to the 900,000 gross square feet of five mega-buildings, including 16- and 21-story buildings, a 480-seat theater and a municipal transit hub. We are opposed to these “mini-cities” masquerading as needed dormitories for students.

Get the true impact of this project. Stand at the corner of Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive looking east. You will see the Pacific Regent. This building is 21 stories tall. It dwarfs the four-story residential building and the mature trees that are adjacent to it. You can see it from everywhere.

Now turn, look north and see the grove of eucalyptus trees in front of you. Visualize that 21-story building directly in front of you. The eucalyptus trees will be dwarfed by this planned 21-story mega-building, the adjacent 16-story one and the three other huge buildings.

Why does UCSD not want all of you to know about this TDLLN project? What else do they not want you to know? Now is the time to write to the University of California president and Board of Regents. Tell them how you feel about this project and its impact on our community.

The UC regents meet Sept. 15-17 to hear this TDLLN project. Write to UC President Dr. Michael Drake and UC regents at president@ucop.edu. Emails must arrive by noon Monday, Sept. 14.

Janie Emerson
President, La Jolla Shores Association

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Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. Unsigned letters cannot be published. ◆