Planners deny request to dissolve parking district

Although there has been no activity from the La Jolla Community Parking District since it formed in 2005, some community members are not ready to see it go. A request presented to La Jolla’s Community Planning Association (LJCPA) during its Dec. 1 meeting to dissolve the Parking District was denied. 

LJCPA president Cindy Greatrex explained, “This is an item that City Council President Sherri Lightner brought to us last month with the request that LJCPA support the dissolution of the La Jolla Community Parking District.”

By way of background, Greatrex said the formation of the District was approved by the San Diego City Council in June 2005, which designated the now defunct Promote La Jolla as the advisory board to manage it. Promote La Jolla was tasked with implementation, planning and administration of parking-related activities within the La Jolla Community Plan. 

“The Parking District has been inactive for the last eight years and Promote La Jolla was dissolved in 2011, and since that time, no replacement organization has been designated as the advisory board for the La Jolla Community Parking District,” Greatrex said. 

The creation of La Jolla’s Parking District was part of a larger effort that designated five other Community Parking Districts: Downtown, Mid-City (including El Cajon Boulevard area, greater Golden Hill and University Heights), Old Town, Pacific Beach and Uptown. Each was tasked with finding parking solutions to meet community needs. For example, in Pacific Beach, the parking district (managed by Discover Pacific Beach) addressed variable on-street paid parking in the commercial district, residential permit parking, parking validation programs and changes in parking requirements for new development. 

Hoping to retain independent control of parking options and the capital that could come with it, La Jolla Village Merchant’s Association (formed after Promote La Jolla disbanded to manage the La Jolla Business Improvement District) executive director Sheila Fortune said dissolving La Jolla’s District would subject La Jolla to City decisions on local parking issues. 

Rather than dissolve the Parking District, Fortune recommended keeping the District, but replacing Promote La Jolla with La Jolla Village Merchants Association as the group to manage it. “We should come together as a community to review the ordinance for the La Jolla Community Parking District so we could have a better understanding of it as a community tool,” she said. 

A motion to deny the request presented to support the dissolution of the Parking District passed. The board did not discuss the alternative presented, and the item will likely be heard by the San Diego City Council in the coming weeks. 

In other LJCPA news:

Mike Costello seated: In a special election to seat two new members, Mike Costello was elected to a two-year term and Sheila Palmer was elected to a truncated five-month term. There were no write in candidates on the 64 ballots cast; Costello received 50 votes, Sheila Palmer received 29 votes and Dave Gordon (who came in third and will not be seated) received 25 votes. 

Coming in January: Two items were removed from the consent agenda for presentations next month. The first, a Rutgers Road Street Vacation and street easement vacation, was previously heard and approved by La Jolla’s Development Permit Review committee and Parks & Beaches advisory group, but by pulling the item for further review, LJCPA may have lost its opportunity to weigh in.

La Jolla architect Paul Benton explained the topic was going to be heard at San Diego City Council, likely before the next LJCPA meeting. It was suggested that as LJCPA president, Greatrex ask the project manager to postpone the hearing, so it could be heard next month, voted on and LJCPA comments included in the presentation to City Council. 

The second item, the Jain Residence at 1421 Soledad Ave., was pulled due to questions about the height. 

Reservoir project: LJCPA member Patrick Ahern said an informational presentation on the La Jolla View Reservoir project will be scheduled for January. He said the City predicts the project to remove the existing 720,000 gallon La Jolla View Reservoir and replace it with a new 3.1 million gallon underground reservoir will only need a Mitigated Negative Declaration (suggesting there would be no major impacts) rather than an Environmental Impact Report. 

“We think with 300-500 trucks of dirt going up and down the hillside over a two-year period, tearing up the natural hillside with no real plan for re-vegetation (merits) an EIR that asks, does this need to be done and is this the best approach?” he said. “We’re scheduling a community meeting to hear what the community has to say about this, and we’ll take the feedback to the City.”

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5 at la Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org

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