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Our Readers Write: Dog waste; municipal code

Emma visits a dog waste station in La Jolla.
(Courtesy)

Letters to the editor:

Don’t let The Village go to dog waste

The La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District’s janitorial staff detailed one day’s work (Feb. 8) cleaning up dog waste in the district at eight separate spots. This is just one day in the life of the MAD, and just focusing on dog waste.

We are a pet-friendly, dog-friendly village and have even gone to the lengths of installing six dog waste bag dispensing stations in the district as a courtesy to help mitigate this problem.

Unfortunately, we are experiencing an uptick in dog messes left openly on sidewalks.

The increased dog waste we are seeing in The Village brings a need to raise awareness and encourage dog owners to be more courteous about picking up after their pets.

Mary Montgomery
District manager, La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District

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Save the 30-foot height limit; forget rewriting the code

Some history of Proposition D is needed to understand the real motivation to rewrite Prop. D, the 30-foot building height limit.

About 1970, shortly after the citywide ballot measure was passed and encoded in the San Diego municipal code, the Development Services Department published the initial technical bulletin that purported to show how to measure the 30-foot limit. The document pictured a simple building with an arrow from the top of the roof to the floor and labeled it 30 feet. So some developers started bringing in fill dirt to build up the grade on the lot and then place a 30-foot building on this raised or finished grade. (Some developers still do this today.)

The city is responsible for enforcing the people’s vote. The city, having already encoded Prop. D, realized there had to be additional code in order to clarify and enforce the people’s vote. The city added code in Section 113.0270 (a)(1) that states building height must be measured from “the existing grade or the finished grade, whichever is lower.”

The city’s attorney stated in a memorandum of law that the city had a right to add code to “supplement” Prop. D but not to “augment” it or change it.

Fast-forward approximately 40 years to August 2013. Development Services put out a second infamous technical bulletin, BLGD-5-4, to “explain” Prop. D again. This time, the technical bulletin completely contradicted municipal code Section 113.0270 (a)(1). The statement in the code that required measuring from the existing grade or the finished grade, whichever is lower, was eliminated along with other measurement procedures that existed for over 40 years.

These technical bulletins are distributed to developers. Some developers use bulletin BLGD-5-4 as a get-out-of-jail-free card. They base their proposed illegal structures on the technical bulletin instead of the municipal code.

Any confusion that exists is not in the code. As the Peninsula Community Planning Board stated, “The language in San Diego municipal code Section 113.0207 (a)(1) is explicit and unambiguous.”

The confusion comes from using documents outside the municipal code as if they were the municipal code. We do not need a rewrite of the code. We need planning groups from the Planning Commission down to the Development Permit Review Committee to understand and enforce the municipal code.

David Little

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What’s on YOUR mind?

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. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a three-month period. ◆