Intended to give La Jollans living near proposed construction a little more heads-up when it comes to what might be emerging in their neighborhoods, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) approved a new policy at its Jan. 4 meeting, held at the Rec Center.
The resolution changes the notification requirements, schedule for presentations to sub-committees, and documentation applicants must have when seeking to build or renovate a house.
“It’s not fair to people when they don’t know what is happening in their neighborhood,” said LJCPA president Bob Steck. “The idea here, because it’s been an issue in the past, is to make sure that everyone is properly notified (about proposals) so there are no surprises.”
In previous years, residents may not have known about building plans until the projects came before the LJCPA or one of its sub-committees (such as La Jolla Development Permit Review or La Jolla Shores Permit Review) or been approved. The City sends notices in the mail when a project is planned, but a common problem, reported at community meetings, is that the residents throw them away or misplace them. The notice also does not say exactly when a project will be heard at the community planning level.
Authored by trustee Phil Merten and vice-president Helen Boyden, the LJCPA resolution calls for three changes:
1) “No hearings shall be scheduled until at least 15 days after the date of the Notice of Application/Future Decision, and at least 15 days after the Notice has been posted on the property.
2) The initial Project Assessment Letter (PAL) and Cycle Issues Comments (CIC) for the project shall have been received by the LJCPA/committee chair and distributed to committee members at least 72 hours prior to the projected meeting date. (The CIC document is a checklist that circulates through different City departments and provides a place for questions or comments. The PAL sets the framework for how the project will be processed, and notes when community review is required.)
3) Information-only presentations are most effective when scheduled for projects that have not yet applied for a discretionary permit. Once an applicant has applied for a discretionary permit and the required notices verified and cycles received, an action presentation is preferred. If changes are suggested during the hearing, either the committee or the applicant can request a continuance, or changes can be made and authenticated at the meeting.”
Breaking each of these into their own motions, the board approved the changes 12-3-1, 12-3-1 and 13-2-1 respectively.
Voicing his concerns about the board action taken, La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee chair and LJCPA trustee Dave Gordon said: “This whole policy is unnecessary, it is going to cause extra work for the subcommittees because we have to run around and check to see that these notices were posted in this timeline. The 15-day waiting period puts an undue burden on the applicant and on the committee … and the City Attorney’s office has said it’s not required.”
Also opposing was architect Michael Morton, who argued the current system provides sufficient notice. “The new notices are bright yellow, the old ones were green. They are intended to be noticeable on any project site. To ask for a 15-day delay is contrary to current City policy. The Mayor is looking for ways to create more housing and reduce red tape. This creates more red tape.”
Morton suggested concerned citizens use the City’s Open DSD portal to get information about a project, but it was noted that plans and/or renderings of what is proposed are not posted at sandiego.gov/development-services/opendsd
On the site, citizens can search for a development by project number, but the number is on the notice that gets sent in the mail and to sub-committees.
La Jollan Gail Forbes called the discussion “premature,” and pointed out there are subcommittees that could be impacted and have not had a chance to weigh in on the proposed changes. “It’s demeaning to those groups to bring this forward and make new demands of them without their input. It’s premature to bring it to this level without doing your homework,” she said.
Nevertheless, the board voted to support the resolution.
In other LJCPA news:
March election: Seven board seats are up for grabs (the number could increase before the election, as at least one trustee is debating whether to re-run). To be eligible, candidates must be a LJCPA member and have attended three LJCPA meetings in the 12 months prior to the election. The last opportunity to announce one’s candidacy (and get on the ballot) is the Feb. 1 meeting. Write-in candidates are also allowed. The election will be held 3-7 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.
Battle of the bollards: In response to last month’s LJCPA decision to remove bollards (aka stanchions) at the base of Playa Del Norte in WindanSea, a City hearing has been scheduled. Residents requested the stanchions to outline a no-parking area at the base of the street where congregating and illegal activities were taking place. After the bollards were installed, LJCPA voted to ask the City to remove them and instead create two 15-minute parking places, with no parking at night.
Trustee Glen Rasmussen, who led the effort to have the stanchions removed because they’re in spot where surfers can view the waves, said he requested to be part of the hearing, date to be announced, and would provide additional details at a future meeting.
— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org