La Jolla Planners ask City to wait on Lookout Drive permit; 7 seats open on key La Jolla board

La Jolla Planning Association trustee Phil Merten makes a point about the permit process for plans at 7837 Lookout Drive at the Jan. 9, 2020 meeting at La Jolla Recreation Center.
(Photo by Claudia Baranowski)

During the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) meeting Jan. 9, 2020, trustees voted to approve (14-0-1) sending a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office regarding recent approval of a vested Coastal Development Permit (CDP) at 7837 Lookout Drive without community input via Substantial Conformance Review (SCR). The CDP was vested with a legal lot line adjustment, and subsequent designs for the proposed single-family residence have not been routed through LJCPA.

During public comments, Phil Merten stated that according to City’s Development Services Department (DSD), the building permit application to construct a new home and lot line adjustment is still under review and has not been issued.

Desiree Kellogg commented the draft letter that would “request City staff to reverse its decision in terms of approving an expired permit from 2005 that is significantly different now.”

Trustee Diane Kane opined: “One of the problems is there is absolutely no information about this on open DSD; the lot doesn’t exist, none of the previous permits are mentioned there, the address is not there. Three coastal permits and a lot-line adjustment, and none of that is online. And when we’ve asked to see the plans, we’ve been told they are proprietary and not available for review. We have asked politely to chat with City staff about our concerns and have received no answer or response.”

Though trustees commented that the language of the letter as drafted could be distilled for simplification, they agreed that “time is of the essence” and approved the letter being sent as an attachment to a separate letter from chair Tony Crisafi conveying concerns that information on the pending application is not available to the public, and requesting a form of public review before the LJCPA allowing community input.

7 board seats beckon

Trustee Kathleen Neil announced there are seven seats open for the March 5 election to join the La Jolla Community Planning Association. The LJCPA has been recognized by the San Diego City Council to make recommendations to the City Council, San Diego Planning Commission, City staff and other governmental agencies on land-use matters.

Eligible members who have attended three meetings from March 2019 through February 2020 meeting date may declare their candidacy before the next LJCPA meeting (Feb. 6) or can submit a candidate statement if not able to attend the meeting. A candidate forum will be held Feb. 6 with voting from 3 to 7 p.m. March 5.

Membership is open to individuals at least 18 years of age, who are property owners, residents or businesspersons within the La Jolla Community Plan boundaries. Details can be found at

District 1 update

Steve Hadley, community outreach director for District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry, shared updates on matters affecting La Jolla. A contract to clear brush on Fay Avenue is in the final stages of being awarded, he said, and a resolution is in the works concerning the delayed undergrounding project in Muirlands area where soil and trenching issues have stalled the project. In the interim, information concerning road closures should be announced via electronic signs.

Hadley added that he is working with traffic engineers and the Mayor’s office to confirm correct weight limit for trucks driving on Hillside Drive. According to current signs, the weight limit allows for vehicles up to five tons, though former signage indicated four tons. Large trucks have caused problems by blocking eastbound traffic on Torrey Pines Road when they become stuck due to steep incline onto Hillside Drive.

Hadley reported that Council member Bry sent a letter to Airbnb requesting a residence on Black Gold Road be withdrawn from the rental platform due to unrestrained parties there and harassment. Hadley stressed that Bry “does not want to shut down capitalism and people sharing their homes,” yet the City’s resources should not be used to monitor inappropriate behavior.

Hadley advised that the City Council is expected to hold a second, ratifying vote on the e-scooters boardwalk ban in coming weeks. It voted 5-4 on Dec. 16 to approve a prohibition of the scooters on the City’s boardwalks. Bry supported the ordinance, which would ban the use of motorized vehicles (not including motorized wheelchairs), on the La Jolla Shores, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach boardwalks and Mission Bay Park Bayside Walk.

Citizens are invited to attend the third annual State of the District Address by Bry, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at University City High School Library, 6949 Genesee Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. and light refreshments will be offered. RSVP to Lora Fleming by Jan. 27 at

UCSD advisory committee

Trustee Matt Mangano said the plan for phasing and sequencing upcoming UC San Diego construction projects was reviewed at the December Advisory Committee meeting. UCSD said it will use onsite lots to handle construction materials and minimize impact on surrounding neighborhoods during expansion. To learn more about campus development, Mangano encouraged La Jollans to attend an open house, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the UCSD Faculty Club in the Atkinson Pavilion, regarding the anticipated Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood. This project, located on the west campus, proposes a mixed-use community including residential and administrative space for a new college. Free parking available in the Faculty Club lot; check in at front desk for required permit. For more details, call (858) 822-0150.

State Senate and Assembly Bills

Trustee Mike Costello noted that SB-50, which would establish a streamlined ministerial approval process for neighborhood multifamily projects, thereby exempting these projects from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) approval process, is “alive and well again.” Hadley advised that Council member Bry is against this bill, and recommended contacting State legislators to register opposition or support.

Trustee John Shannon commented that AB-68 concerning accessory dwelling units (ADU) recently passed. The bill requires ministerial approval, rather than a discretionary approval process, for a wider range of ADU types.

La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St., La Jolla.