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Our Readers Write: SB 9, fireworks, Children’s Pool, sidewalk cafes, La Jolla Playhouse

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Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor:

Senate Bill 9 presents a lot of problems

This letter was sent to the California Assembly Local Government Committee, with a copy to the La Jolla Light. (See related story, page A8.)

The La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) is officially recognized by the city of San Diego to represent the La Jolla community on all planning and development issues. Among its 18 members, the LJCPA board of trustees has architects, civil engineers, planners, real estate agents, economists, attorneys, scientists, business owners and other professional and community expertise.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association strongly opposes Senate Bill 9 for reasons summarized below:

1. Because a zoning ordinance is a covenant between government and the people, changes in zoning covenants should only be made by the government with the consent and a vote of the people.

2. From a community perspective, ministerial project approvals have been highly problematic. Numerical measurements for height, setback and FAR [floor area ratio] disregard community character and do not result in compatible placement or design. In contrast, ADUs [accessory dwelling units] in the coastal zone that require community input have been well-received.

3. There is unrecognized capacity in multifamily zones that permit more housing. Before adding more unusable capacity, it is necessary to understand why current existing capacity is not being used effectively.

4. The California coastal zone has state requirements for coastal access and environmental sensitivity that are undercut by removing parking requirements from new ADU construction and generally increasing densities in already impacted areas.

5. Affordable housing in the coastal zone is uniquely problematic and unsolvable through merely increasing supply, since there is unlimited international demand for coastal real estate in California.

6. An increasing amount of San Diego’s housing stock is owned by corporations, investors and Airbnb-type vacation rentals, squeezing housing supply for local homeowners and making associated intergenerational wealth transfer increasingly unattainable. Without controlling who owns new housing, incentivizing its construction merely exacerbates disparities.

In conclusion, applying a zoning law to disrupt single-family areas statewide is an unnecessarily Draconian, and most likely unworkable, measure. As a “one size fits all” blunt instrument, Senate Bill 9 assaults local control, single-family zoning and planning, without accountability for associated infrastructure and other amenities needed for neighborhood livability.

The unintended consequences of this bill have not been adequately investigated and are likely to cause serious, irreversible problems.

Diane Kane
President, La Jolla Community Planning Association

Fireworks, seals and sea lions can coexist

The recent lawsuit seeking to prohibit the La Jolla fireworks is another example of environmentalism’s overreach and use of doomsday messaging (“Lawsuit tries to stop La Jolla Fourth of July fireworks,” June 3, La Jolla Light).

The lawsuit mentions lots of possibilities, from harming the seals’ and sea lions’ pups to damaging sensitive marine life. However, they list zero evidence for their claims. The fact is that La Jolla has been doing fireworks since 1985 through the magnanimous donation of George Hauer. Do they seriously think that a 30-minute (or less) show of fireworks is going to result in catastrophic damage? Has that affected the number of seals and sea lions and their pups in and around La Jolla? Take a walk around The Cove and you’ll witness a very robust population.

On the human side of the equation, La Jollans need some normalcy and celebration, like the rest of the country. We finally have the funding. Let’s replace the “sky is falling” hype with some joy. We all need it.

Steve Axel

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Time to take back the Children’s Pool

Wake up La Jolla! When are we going to reclaim our Children’s Pool? Latest news in La Jolla Light: “Lawsuit tries to stop La Jolla Fourth of July fireworks.”

Every day on the San Diego Union-Tribune weather page beach report: “Polluted waters to avoid: La Jolla Children’s Pool.”

If the seals are such a tourist attraction for La Jolla, let’s move them offshore and have an excursion boat for visitors to view the seals and give our coastline back to the people.

Gloria McCoy

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Dreaming of pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalk cafes

The COVID-19 epidemic gave us a glimpse of what La Jolla could have been if city planners long ago had designed our town to accommodate sidewalk cafes and bistros. It would be wonderful today if La Jolla could be more pedestrian-friendly, with an outdoor cafe scene reminiscent of Paris.

Unfortunately, the town was designed with narrow sidewalks and not enough free parking to accommodate such a dream. In Southern California, people will go to the destination they can drive to and park nearby for free (the mall). That is the reality we must live with.

Can La Jolla be made into a pedestrian-friendly town with wide sidewalks, pedestrian-only streets and sidewalk cafes? Yes! We can close parts of Prospect Street, Girard Avenue and Wall Street, leaving a one-way street that permits only delivery vehicles Mondays through Fridays until 5 p.m. We can widen the sidewalks on these streets and eliminate parking in these areas to allow a cafe culture to take root.

To mitigate the loss of parking spaces, we can purchase the parking lots next to Citibank and Union Bank and build free parking structures that will accommodate the lost parking and more. Palm Springs has such a structure with two hours of free parking near the downtown.

Would you, the taxpayer, pay for all this? Would a bond measure that raises funds to do this have any chance of success? Unfortunately, the reality is that the city of San Diego can barely keep our streets in good repair.

But it is nice to dream, isn’t it?

Andrew Shorenstein

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How to get to playhouse’s onsite performances?

Enjoyed the article about La Jolla Playhouse onsite (“La Jolla Playhouse returns live onsite with three world premieres, Without Walls fest, new play series,” June 3, La Jolla Light).

Having driven through the campus area recently, I am wondering how the “onsite” will work. There is no obvious place to park an auto; it is a total construction/confusion area.

This also greatly restricts access to the Stuart Collection: “The Wind Garden,” “Red Shoe,” “La Jolla Vista View,” etc.

Chris Jensen

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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. ◆