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Our Readers Write: Short-term renters, single-family zoning, scooters, parking, more

A yard sign speaks to the feelings that many community members have against short-term vacation rentals.
(File)

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor:

Renters support La Jolla and shouldn’t be unwelcome

As an English transplant to Philadelphia, for the past 20 years my husband and I have escaped two months of winter by spending the time in La Jolla. We have rented houses on Monte Vista and Olivetas avenues. The house we loved on Olivetas was sold this year, so we rented on Sea Lane.

On entering the house and opening the blinds, we were saddened to see a prominent sign (brought down by a storm) facing our windows: “Neighbors, not renters, make neighborhoods.”

We do know our neighbors in Beach Barber: Larry, who took in my husband’s golf clubs when they arrived before we did; Ginny, who brought bubbles for our youngest granddaughter; and Judy, who always drops around a jar of flowers and herbs from her garden.

We are happy to add about $30,000 each year to La Jolla’s economy by car and house rental, theater and concert tickets, restaurants, golf fees and shopping.

Many “locals” do not live here and do not support the local economy. Many of the houses on Sea Lane and elsewhere have been deserted the majority of the time we have been here.

Before renters are considered unwelcome, reflect on who supports La Jolla. A more realistic sign would read “Occupied houses make neighborhoods, not absent owners.”

We will not be returning to Sea Lane next year.

Michèle Spence

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Monetizing San Diego communities is wrong

Letter writer Keith Behner warns of harmful effects of weakening or eliminating single-family zoning restrictions.
(File)

Regarding proposed state legislation that would effectively eliminate single-family zoning restrictions in California to encourage construction of more housing:

San Diego, welcome to Houston, where there’s no zoning and everyone gets to do pretty much what they please.

The historic concept of single-family residential neighborhoods in San Diego has been incrementally weakened and monetized by gutting the
zoning that has protected such family neighborhoods for decades. To date, this all-out assault on single-family neighborhoods has been
achieved by allowing so-called granny flats, sometimes multiple ones on individual lots, and permitting a plethora of vacation rentals previously prohibited.

But even all those encroachments, at the expense of neighborhood quality of life, aren’t enough to satisfy the greed of developers, vacation-rental interests, non-occupant property owners and some people wanting to monetize their neighborhoods at the expense of their neighbors.

The coup de grace for single-family residential neighborhoods is rapidly approaching in the form of a landslide of state legislation that will be foisted on us by Sacramento, sadly with the active help and support of most of our state and local elected representatives.

Sacramento is where the vested interests and their lobbyists, awash in dollars, control the agenda and those who set it. So much of this has been done without local input or adequate notice. Get set to see as many as four units on single-family lots in addition to vacationers in vacation rentals and granny flat renters.

What will be the result of ending single-family zoning as we know it? While initially incremental, over time the density explosion will be dramatic and irreversible. You need to know that providing new or upgrading old infrastructure to accommodate these density increases is not a provision of any of these plans. With this increased demand, how will our already overtaxed infrastructure fare?

The increased demand on water, sewer, schools, police, fire departments, parks and the like will be significant.

Parking, especially in our coastal and campus areas, is already a nightmare. At the same time density increases have been approved, many off-street parking requirements have been reduced or eliminated. In addition to streets congested with traffic and parked cars — many now on front lawns — additional units, many of them two-story, will encroach on and loom over neighboring properties, destroying privacy and blocking sunlight and breezes. More households mean more noise and more overall congestion.

While these changes will affect all of San Diego, the most dramatic impacts will be felt in the expensive coastal and campus areas with the highest demand.

I certainly don’t have the answers for the complex affordable housing or homelessness issues. But making properties more expensive as they generate more income won’t address that. The homelessness issue needs to be dealt with using a variety of approaches — one for those made homeless by losing a job, by illness or a temporary family crisis and one centering around mental health and/or substance abuse issues.

Keith Behner

— This letter was originally published by The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Returning scooters to corrals should be required

Having read the letters from concerned citizens of La Jolla regarding the scooter issue, I thought of a solution (“Scooter removal ruffles feathers of Bird company, which sends La Jollans cease-and-desist letters,” April 1, La Jolla Light): The app should feature a way to check them out and deposit them, such as a corral like the airports use for luggage carts.

Scooters are left a few feet from a La Jolla resident's "private property" sign.
Scooters are left a few feet from a La Jolla resident’s “private property” sign.
(Courtesy)

The user only gets credit for returning it if it is placed in a holder that will recognize it has been returned to its proper place. That would help eliminate the scooters being left on sidewalks, streets and yards of citizens in town. If not returned to the proper place, the user is fined, and after two fines, is no longer allowed to rent a scooter. Helmets and other protective gear should also be required.

Another issue that I need to address is the deplorable condition of our streets in town. Even though I have previously shown pictures in the La Jolla Light and sent in the Get It Done report to the city of San Diego, our streets in the Country Club area have not been repaved and the potholes have not been repaired.

This creates a dangerous condition, as the roads are narrow and winding, with limited vision around the curves. At times, cars need to go into the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid damaging their tires, thus putting themselves and other drivers at risk for an accident.

In addition, many hikers use the hill for exercise, and on many parts of the hill, there are no sidewalks.

Lisa Casey

— — —

Inga hit the spot with her parking column

To Inga:

My bride and I enjoyed your column last week (“A solution to La Jolla’s parking problem for the techno-challenged,” April 8, La Jolla Light). My bride related to it in spades.

Her parking nemesis is a crew-cab, extended-bed, jacked-up, oversize-wheels pickup truck that parks so close to her car that she has to suck in her breath to be able to get into it. Of course, such a callous driver parks there after she has parked.

Such vehicles should be banned from parking garages — or made to park on the roof or in a designated area where all such monsters should be parked.

Your column is read first when our edition of the Light arrives on Thursdays.

Keep entertaining us with your delightfully worded exposés of life in our community.

Lou Cumming

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An inspiring example of caring

I am 87 years old. I walk every day with my dog. Several weeks ago when walking the dog in La Jolla, the dog, who loves everyone, lurched to two young ladies sitting on the curb. I pulled back, hit a brick edging and fell on the brick sidewalk and into the bushes.

A young couple were right there to help me get up, get me to my car and see that other than a bruised left thigh where my cellphone took the weight of my fall, I could drive home.

This couple are an example of the best kind of caring people. I hope they see this thank you.

Luckily, so many in our world — hospital workers, firefighters and everyone who keeps our world from falling apart in this time of the COVID pandemic — deserve our thanks and support.

I must have faith that the young couple who helped me are the future of our country.

Beeb Salzer

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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. You also can submit a letter online at lajollalight.com/submit-a-letter-to-the-editor. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆