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UCSD agrees to forum on future construction: La Jolla leaders asking for more input on university’s expansion plans

This artist's rendering shows UC San Diego's Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood, proposed for La Jolla Village Drive by North Torrey Pines Road. The numbers correspond to the number of floors in each building.
(Courtesy Concept Rendering)

During a private meeting Feb. 28, 2020 with La Jolla community leaders, UC San Diego agreed to a public forum at which it will present both its long-range campus plans and a recently completed traffic study regarding the impact of the Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood.

The Future College Project is expected to house an estimated 2,000 undergraduate students, contain classrooms and space for retail and conferences, and offer 1,200 underground parking spaces along Torrey Pines Road near La Jolla Village Drive. Adaptive traffic signals are proposed as part of traffic mitigation, according to UCSD liaison Anu Delouri, “at minimum along the La Jolla Village Drive and Regents Road corridors.”

The most likely date for the forum will fall between April 20 and 27, with a particular eye on Wednesday, April 22 or Thursday, April 23. However, the venue and who will host the forum are big sticking points.

See the related story about the special meeting with UCSD, “7 elected to La Jolla planning board as trustees eye Village Streetscape designs,” at lajollalight.com/news/story/2020-03-09/planning-board-village-streetscape

La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) chair Janie Emerson claims her group and a coalition of others — the La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Traffic & Transportation board and La Jolla Town Council — were promised at the meeting that they could co-host the forum, and that would take place in The Village (and not on campus) in late March.

“Now, what they’re trying to do is have it be a full-blown thing that they host on campus,” Emerson said. “Well, that’s fine, if they’re willing to trash the timeline for the Future College Project.”

UCSD hopes to have its permits in place by July, with construction starting in September.

Whatever shape the forum takes, it will follow a rebuke issued Feb. 12 by LJSA, which voted to delegate to its executive officers “all means necessary to take appropriate measures to deal with the expansion at UCSD.” Emerson even threatened the university with a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit, stating: “The CEQA provisions were set up specifically so that community groups can push back against development they feel is overbearing and too much for their community.”

LJSA board members said they felt UCSD was not being transparent with its plans for Future College.

“When you’re looking at traffic and congestion, in order to decide its true impact on an area, you need to have square footage and use,” Emerson stated. “Right now, all we have is 2,000 students and the number and height of the buildings.” One of the buildings will feature a 21-story tower, she pointed out.

Construction on the Future College Living & Learning Center is scheduled to begin this fall — when construction on the similar North Torrey Pines Living & Learning Neighborhood is scheduled to finish — and is expected to take three years.

La Jolla Light will advance the meeting details as they become available.

ON THE WEB: Learn more about UC San Diego’s Future College Living & Learning Center at plandesignbuild.ucsd.edu