La Jolla Planners take up senate bills, vehicle habitation, public art


With nothing on the consent agenda, and the only development projects docketed for full review postponed to next month, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) dedicated its May 2 meeting at the Rec Center to discussing miscellaneous issues about which they’d like to be involved.

These include Senate housing legislation, the longstanding debate over whether an image above the McLaren car dealership is a mural or an advertisement, vehicle habitation, tracking projects once they leave community review groups and more.

Senate Bills on Housing

In regard to SB 330 and SB 50, several trustees asked that appropriate reps attend a future meeting to explain the details of the bills and how they could impact La Jolla.

SB 330, dubbed the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, would suspend “specific local rules and regulations that are recognized as obstacles to housing production,” according to its author, State Senator Nancy Skinner (Democrat, representing the East Bay).

SB 50, aka the More HOMES Act, eliminates “hyper-low-density zoning near public transit and job centers, thus legalizing apartment buildings and affordable housing in these locations so that more people can live near transit,” said author Senator Scott Weiner (Democrat, representing San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County).

One stipulation of these bills concerning La Jollans is whether they would suspend the coastal height limit on new development.

Addressing San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry’s field rep Mauricio Medina, LJCPA trustee Diane Kane said: “I would like to relay to our Council member that the people I’ve been talking to are highly concerned about this … so we would like to get some of this out in the open.

“A lot of this is being sold as ‘affordable housing,’ but the reality is there is no affordable housing at the beach. If you build it, they will come because there is unlimited demand for people who want to live at the beach.”

Medina responded that Bry is “against SB 330 and SB 50,” but “it is really at the State level” and he suggested reaching out to San Diego’s representative, Senator Toni Atkins.

Trustees requested a formal presentation at a future meeting, and that the LJCPA take a position on these bills, which would likely end in a letter to City and State reps.

McLaren ‘Mural’

LJCPA, once again, requested its Planned District Ordinance (PDO) sub-committee issue findings regarding the sign over the McLaren car dealership at 7440 La Jolla Blvd. The image is of a McLaren car, which is sold at the dealership below, leaving some to question whether it is a mural or a billboard.

The McLaren image above the dealership on La Jolla Boulevard has La Jolla Community Planning Association board members wondering if it’s a ‘mural’ or a ‘billboard.’
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The board first requested the PDO issue findings on this issue in January.

Trustee Glen Rasmussen pointed out: “The concern was referred to them and we asked them to review the McLaren image. I would like to ask the PDO to make findings about that sign and also the one at 1111 Prospect St. that advertises The Conrad (Prebys Performing Arts Center).

“The PDO should make factual findings: Does it conform to the Planned District Ordinance Committee? Period.”

At that point, LJCPA could discuss the findings.

PDO chair Deborah Marengo spoke at the last LJCPA meeting, but the PDO board has not made a formal recommendation on the image.

Interns’ project

Kane said there are UC San Diego interns who have been volunteering for the LJCPA board, and one is working on spreadsheet that would record how LJCPA decisions correlate to City decisions on development.

“We want to get a sense of how many projects we don’t approve, get approved at the City level,” Kane said. “Our intern did not complete the work, but I will get it to this board to see what she did find … and see if community review makes a difference.”

Vehicle habitation letter

At its last meeting, LJCPA voted to send a letter to the City, urging the proper departments to create an ordinance prohibiting vehicular habitation on City streets — especially in residential neighborhoods, parking lots and City parks.

LJCPA chair Tony Crisafi announced the letter was sent soon after the meeting.

“While homelessness is an acute problem in San Diego, vehicular habitation will only create another problem,” the letter reads. “Permanent homeless encampments will become legal if vehicular habitation is allowed in specific locations. Permanent homeless encampments would be a predictable problem in parking lots at City beaches and parks. Vehicular habitation is not transitional or temporary, furnishing housing and appropriate social services will contribute to solving the homelessness problem.”

Pulled from the agenda

Two projects that were slated for a full review were postponed to next month’s meeting at the applicant’s request.

They are the Panorama Homes project for 1188 Muirlands Drive and Sugarman project for 8356 Sugarman Drive.

Panorama Homes looks to construct two new single-family dwelling units on two vacant lots.

The West House at 1188 Muirlands Drive totals 8,451 square feet and the East House at 1200 Muirlands Drive totals 8,510 square feet. The vacant lots total .56 acres and .61 acres, respectively.

When heard at the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee, the board determined that findings could be made for the project.

Sugarman project looks to construct a two-story 5,694-square-foot single-family house with 1,217-square-foot basement garage on a vacant lot at 8356 Sugarman Drive. The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee determined that findings could not be made for the project.

Banner issues

Trustee Dan Courtney opined that La Jolla is getting “cluttered up” with banners being hung across bridges and overpasses throughout town.

“My understanding is that it is illegal to hang these banners on City structures and bridges,” he said.

Citing the overpass across Torrey Pines Road near La Jolla Parkway, Courtney said he has noticed large banners advertising local events that negatively “impact the beauty of La Jolla.”

He said he filed a complaint about such banners with San Diego Code Compliance and would report back to the board with whatever findings Code Compliance makes.

Phone gone

The LJCPA phone line has been disconnected due to lack of use and to save money on the recurring bill. Henceforth, the only way to reach the board will be through e-mail at or by attending meetings.

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, June 6 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.