La Jolla Merchants update: free trees and a search for new director

At the Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA)’s Sept. 12 meeting, president Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank said the LJVMA received “a lot of great resumes” in response to its opening for executive director and that there will be an announcement “hopefully by our next meeting.”

Frank previously announced she was making the job “more administrative” than when Sheila Fortune held it from May 2012 until she resigned this June — rerouting many of its responsibilities to herself and other board members.

Since Fortune resigned, Frank said, she has spent 40 hours a week on her own business (as a Reiki healer) and an additional 40 hours volunteering for LJVMA — some of which was spent downsizing the group’s office. Nine months ago, former LJVMA president James Niebling signed a three-year lease for 7590 Faye Ave., Ste. 404. The group is spending nearly $3,500 a month on the space, Frank said, which has two offices and one common area.

So, Frank said, she decided to clear and sublet one of the offices, removing from it “half a dumper’s worth of trash and a quarter of recycling.” It’s currently available for a three-month sublet, Frank said, “and in those three months, we can see how well we work together.

“There was no flexibility for us to possibly shift that lease,” Frank added. “It’s a lease. We signed it, and we are allowed to sublet it.”

Free trees!

Also at the meeting, in the La Jolla Riford Library, San Diego Planning Department senior planner Lesley Henegar offered a free tree to any merchant who wants one. She said that neither the tree, nor the labor to plant it, will cost a penny.

The only condition, she said, was that the City decides on “the appropriate tree for the appropriate place” and that the merchant accepts all responsibility for watering it.

“I’m going to speak to the merchants,” Frank replied. “If they do not take on the responsibility, I will do it myself.”

Henegar said the offer is part of Citywide tree-planning program enacted because “planting trees is the third-largest contributing factor” to reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. (The first two are reducing emissions and taking mass transit, she said.)

Henegar said the City planted almost 2,000 trees last year and “that’s not even a drop in the bucket” compared to what they need to do to achieve its goal of 15 percent Citywide coverage by 2020 and 35 percent by 2035.

The good news, she said, is that La Jolla is already 24 percent tree-covered.

“We’re in good standing,” Henegar said. “It’s the commercial area that can use a little help. That’s why I’m talking to you folks.”

LJVMA treasurer Brett Murphy clarified that, while Henegar addressed her offer to the merchants, it’s the property owners who must accept it.

Racking up support

La Jolla Parks & Beaches chair Ann Dynes presented the merchants with her design for branded La Jolla bike racks.

“I walked in here and people have their bicycles tethered to a parking sign,” Dynes said. “Why not have something beautiful? If we just started a couple of them, I think it would take off.”

Dynes used Murphy, owner of La Jolla Sports Club, as a for-instance.

“Let’s say Brett has a space right in front of his sports club,” she said, “We could work with the City on getting the funding.” (Dynes said that branded “La Jolla” bike racks costs $510 each.)

Murphy replied: “I think this falls right in line with what we’re trying to do with rebranding the town.”

A vote of support would have to wait, however. Frank resolved to form a committee with Dynes to see which merchants could be convinced to cooperate.

Parking problem

Lindsay King, representing Alcorn & Benton Architects, requested the closure of four parking spaces in front of 1230 Prospect St. for six months. King said the building — which houses H. Moradi Fine & Estate Jewelers — is “looking a little bit sad” and would receive a renovation resulting in a modern, steel façade and three additional feet in height.

“The owners of this building have been very patient,” King said. “The entire time Duke’s was under construction, they blocked those spaces. Without those spaces, there’s literally nowhere for us to keep materials. Without those spaces, the contractors are going to have to relook at how long construction will take.”

After the board determined that all four spots were allocated to valet parking, Frank recommended that King speak to the valet company first and then return to LJVMA next month.

“Once you get the thumbs up, this also falls under Traffic & Transportation,” she said. “I don’t feel this is something that should be a motion at this time because it does involve a particular company and it feels like we’re going behind their backs.”

Combining Christmas

The board discussed combining its second straight holiday party with BizX’s to defray costs. LJVMA secretary Krista Heron Baroudi objected, saying she “did not feel it was a smooth relationship” last year, but Frank and Murphy strongly supported the plan.

“If you don’t want to spend 20-to-40 grand, this is our best option, and me, as the treasurer, I like this option,” Murphy said.

Frank didn’t set a date for the party yet, but said “it will have to be solidified by next meeting.”

Conrad consent

DPR Construction’s Jett Horn and Brian Monson, supervisors on the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall project, requested and received — via unanimous vote — permission to extend a four-foot high fence to six feet on Fay Avenue, and to close a different area of the sidewalk, for the final phase of the facility’s construction through January.

“We’re excited to get out of there,” Horn said.

“You don’t like La Jolla?” Frank replied.

“I like La Jolla,” Horn said, “but the job has definitely been a challenge.”

Also at LJVMA…

  • La Jolla Golf Carts owner Robert Mackey was sworn in as the latest LJVMA board member, following a unanimous vote. Mackey, a 15-year resident of The Village, owns La Jolla Golf Carts.
  • Murphy announced $22,000 in the bank for the month of August, with assets and liabilities balanced at $34,000.
  • The board voted unanimously to write a letter supporting the 10th annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, happening Saturday, Oct. 6-7.
  • The board selected Oct. 24 as the date for its first participation in the City of San Diego’s Business Walk. Event rep Jocelyn Maggard said she would check and then confirm the date. She also said she needs at least 40 La Jolla merchants to participate, “because about 10 will not show up.”
  • The board voted unanimously to write a letter of support backing up Council member Barbara Bry’s call for night work only on the Torrey Pines Slope Stabilization Project.
  • The Pillage the Village Halloween event was announced for 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

— The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. lajollabythesea.com

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