New officers elected, variety of La Jolla issues discussed at virtual Community Planning meeting

Newly elected La Jolla Community Planning Association president Diane Kane addresses her trustees April 3, 2020 via the Zoom app from her La Jolla home.
(Courtesy Photo)

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) pulled off one of San Diego’s first online community meetings on Thursday, April 2, 2020 virtually electing a new president via the communications app Zoom. Diane Kane took over immediately from Tony Crisafi.

“Thank you everybody for your trust and your confidence and your support,” Kane said. “I am looking forward to serving for the next year.”

First vice-president Greg Jackson, second vice-president Helen Boyden, secretary Suzanne Weissman and treasurer Mike Costello were all re-elected. All candidates ran unopposed.

Kane jumped directly into her president’s report, addressing the recommendations for permitting code updates approved earlier this year by the La Jolla Development Review Committee (DPR) to address developer abuse.

Kane said she’s worked for several weeks on submitting them to the City via LJCPA, and most were submitted on time. (She thanked Crisafi for taking on height limits, LJCPA trustee Dave Ish for taking on carports and serial permitting and DPR trustee Angeles Liera for taking on project noticing.)

Two issues — floor area ratio on beachfront lots and scheduling on construction within a two-block area — were tabled, Kane said, explaining that “the submittal process was much more involved than we anticipated.”

Kane also appointed previous volunteers to an ad-hoc committee to consider code revisions to the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance. These include herself, Boyden and fellow LJCPA trustees Dan Courtney and Kathleen Neil; La Jolla Shores Association president Janie Emerson; DPR trustee Angeles Liera; and La Jolla residents Phil Merten and Desiree Kellogg.

City Council member Barbara Bry’s coronavirus update

District 1 City Council member and La Jolla resident Barbara Bry updated the group on the latest local impact of the coronavirus.

“This is an extraordinary time and I’m very proud of how the City of San Diego has responded,” she said. “We sheltered-in-place earlier than many other communities. And because of this, it looks like we will flatten the curve more quickly than other places in the world have.”

She said that most La Jollans understand the importance of closing San Diego’s beaches, “but, of course, we do get pushback.”

She said construction is continuing, since Governor Newsom declared it an essential business, so undergrounding of electricity is proceeding as normal in La Jolla Shores, as is La Jolla’s biotech industry on the mesa.

Bry encapsulated details of the City’s recently passed temporary ban on evictions and Small Business Relief Fund. She also acknowledged an issue in La Jolla with homeless people relieving themselves in the street now that public bathrooms are closed. She said she had the restrooms reopened at Kellogg Park and asked the City to also reopen those at either the La Jolla Rec Center or The Cove.

“We need to keep the restrooms open,” she said. “That is a public health imperative.”

State Assembly member Todd Gloria’s coronavirus update

State Assembly member Todd Gloria updated the group on California’s $1.1 billion response to the coronavirus crisis, some of which he said was already flowing into relief programs and investments into public health and homeless services. (San Diego received $7 million to expand homeless shelters at Golden Hall and open a shelter at the San Diego Convention Center, he said.)

“This $1.1 billion is, I believe, just the first installment of what will be many more contributions from the state treasury to help us get through both the health and economic consequences of this pandemic,” Gloria said.

Gloria noted his office has received many inquiries about property taxes, and reported that the April 10 deadline still endures.

However, he said: “We have been in touch with our local tax collector to encourage him <FZ,1,0,15>to use his discretion under state law to waive late penalties for those who are struggling to make that particular payment.” (Those waivers would be granted case-by-case, Gloria said, and impacted individuals should contact the state tax collector to start the forbearance process.)

Beach-closure debate

During public comment, a lively discussion erupted concerning the rights of people who wish to walk or jog along La Jolla’s closed beaches without violating social-distancing or gathering rules.

“I’m really conflicted on this,” Kane said. “I’m really concerned about the virus … In the short term, a lockdown makes tremendous sense, but in the long term, people are going to go nuts. And we’re going to end up with people moving on their own and it’s going to be difficult to control.”

Emerson said she’s been trying to coordinate with the City Council District 1 office to come up with a way the beaches could reopen, but that doesn’t look likely.

“The problem was the Coney Island-effect that happened two Saturdays ago,” Emerson explained, “and so, for right now, the police department really wants beaches closed.”

Trustee Ray Weiss intervened, stating: “It’s laudable in the longer-term, but while this (pandemic) is at the exponential-rising phase, it’s inappropriate to even talk about it, because we don’t even know the extent to which aerosols — which have a long lifetime in the atmosphere — can carry this virus and infect people.”

UCSD construction update

UC San Diego planning team reps Anu Deloui and Alyssa Helper were not in virtual attendance, leaving Emerson to update LJCPA alone on her efforts to modify or delay the construction of UCSD’s latest expansion project — the Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood.

Emerson reported sending a letter to UCSD, asking them to postpone a previously discussed open-house meeting due to the COVID-19 lockdown, then to possibly reschedule it in April.

She said she also asked UCSD to suspend its timeline of Regents approvals in July and stakes in the ground in September.

“We received a positive response to the first request,” she said. “We have not received any response to the second one. So, as of right now, UCSD is, I guess, on the same timeline.”

Also discussed at LJCPA:

Trustees sworn in: LJCPA incoming trustees were sworn in by Bry — included Boyden, Weissman, Jackson, Weiss, Robert Steck, Larry Davidson and Patrick Ahern. Bry wished them luck and thanked outgoing board members Tony Crisafi, Brian Will, John Fremdling and Dave Gordon.

Gordon resigns from everything: Gordon announced his resignation as chair of the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee and from “all La Jolla-based activities” for at least a year “or many more years.” Gordon read a prepared statement attacking “a few individuals who have chosen to make disparaging attacks against my reputation simply because they’ve disagreed with me,” including “one member of our community who frequently opposes all projects.” Kane thanked Gordon for his service to the community.

Treasurer’s report: As of March 1, according to treasurer Mike Costello, LJCPA had a total balance of $826.21, with last month’s income totaling $627 and expenses totaling $164.90.

La Jolla Community Planning Association will next meet online only, 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7, 2020. Those interested in attending the online meeting need to register in advance at