The La Jolla Shores Association voted to pursue a summer dining proposal to help restaurants on Avenida de la Playa when they’re allowed to resume onsite dining service after coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The plan, approved during the board’s May 13 meeting, would put platforms where parking stalls are for “restaurants to extend their serving areas and keep tables farther apart,” board member Phil Wise said.
The proposal includes closing Avenida de la Playa to vehicle traffic between El Paseo Grande and Calle de la Plata from 5 to 10 p.m.
Wise said all but one of the restaurant owners he spoke to “seemed to be very interested in doing something like this.”
However, the proposal hit “a roadblock from the city,” Wise said. He was told special use permits would be required for platform installation and closing the street. And there was a question of whether the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control would allow alcohol to be served on the platforms.
“Sometimes we get great ideas and we’re enthusiastic to move them forward,” association President Janie Emerson said. “But bureaucracy raises its head. The question is, do we want to try to pursue this?”
Board member Andi Andreae said, “I think [the proposal] really improves the atmosphere of the neighborhood.”
Member Joe Dicks, however, said he was “very concerned about backing this kind of initiative without handling the threshold issue of social distancing and other requirements to keep the community healthy.”
The group voted without opposition to pursue the proposal and create an ad hoc committee. Emerson abstained, as the president votes only as a tiebreaker.
The group plans to see if restaurants will pursue the necessary permits.
Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood
In an update to the association’s objection to UC San Diego’s planned Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood, Emerson reiterated that LJSA has retained an attorney and said “the future is determined by what information we get back from the university.”
The Future College project is a proposed campus expansion intended to house 2,000 students in five buildings ranging from nine to 21 stories tall.
With UCSD’s goals being approval by the UC Board of Regents in July and groundbreaking in September, LJSA has been concerned there won’t be enough time for the community to have enough information and input on the project.
UCSD liaison Anu Delouri said university Director of Planning Robert Clossin sent LJSA a message indicating that “the university will present Future College to the La Jolla Community Planning Association June meeting.”
Delouri also said that LJSA’s requests for information through the California Public Records Act were “extremely broad. We requested the items to be narrowed down; however, Janie never got back on that.”
Emerson said the “chancellor agreed ... that there would be a community town hall as soon as we can meet.”
Delouri replied that “that was pre-COVID. It’s unfortunate that an in-person meeting cannot happen at the current time. As it stands, our project is scheduled to go to the regents in July, but that’s all we know as of today.”
Steve Hadley, a representative of San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, said that in a “phone call with [Bry] and the chancellor, I [said] the community would appreciate a meeting in person. The chancellor agreed happily. I need to go back now and tell the council member the university has changed its position since it talked to her.”
As heated discussion continued, Delouri said she would convey Hadley’s message, along with other questions raised about the chancellor stating there would be an in-person meeting and about the project’s construction timeline.
Other LJSA news
• San Diegans for Justice: The board, with no opposition and two abstentions, passed a motion to lend support to a proposed charter amendment submitted to the City Council for an independent commission on police practices.
Kate Yavendetti, representing the nonprofit group San Diegans for Justice, asked the association to “sign on as supporters” of the amendment.
“We think there’s a major problem with having the Police Department investigate themselves,” she said. The commission to investigate claims of police misconduct proposed by San Diegans for Justice “would be completely independent,” removing conflicts of interest, Yavendetti said.
Emerson and board member John Sheridan abstained, with Sheridan saying he “wants to know more about the subject. I just heard about it the first time this evening.”
• “Slow streets”: Hadley said the City Council is looking for suggestions in The Shores for San Diego’s “slow streets” program, which aims to close select streets to through traffic during the coronavirus stay-at-home order to allow pedestrians and bicyclists more room for social distancing.
The program would still allow parking, deliveries and driving to destinations on those streets.
Emerson asked the board to send her suggestions for slow streets in the area.
• “The Map” dedication postponed: Board member Mary Coakley-Munk said that although the dedication of The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza has been postponed, the “project is moving along well,” with planting completed and only “small things left such as the railing.”
Coakley-Munk said six benches and three bike racks will be added and that the map will have a soft launch online.
The project in Kellogg Park features more than 100 life-size mosaic images of local marine life, along with local beaches, dive sites, surf spots and Marine Protected Area and State Marine Reserve boundaries.
The next meeting of the La Jolla Shores Association will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, via Zoom or at a location to be determined. To learn more, visit lajollashoresassociation.org.◆