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La Jolla Shores restaurants have next move in plan for summer outdoor dining on Avenida de la Playa

The La Jolla Shores Association approved this design for its new logo.
(Courtesy)

Moving forward in its quest to start summer outdoor dining on Avenida de la Playa, the La Jolla Shores Association empowered its executive board to buy liability insurance as one of the next steps.

Before the LJSA’s meeting June 10 via Zoom, member Phil Wise said he received a response from the city of San Diego that “we could do this, with a starting date end of June through September.”

The summer dining proposal would close one block of Avenida de la Playa in The Shores to cars each night during the summer and allow for restaurants to serve customers outside. It’s intended to promote business for restaurants struggling amid coronavirus-related restrictions that shut down dine-in service from mid-March to late May.

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.

Wise said that since the Shores Association’s last meeting, he had filed a special-events application with the city per official guidelines, submitted letters from participating restaurants, an aerial view of the street, photos showing 20 feet available for emergency vehicle access and “proved … our compliance” with other regulations from the city.

The next step, he said, is for restaurants to choose either to put out tables, partitions and other materials every evening and remove them upon closing or leave them for a maximum three-day period (such as Friday through Sunday weekly).

Wise said one restaurant responded that there was no room to store outdoor-specific furniture and equipment needed for the proposal and that using existing furniture isn’t viable due to age, its intended indoor use and aesthetics.

During the discussion, Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, said, “I’m going to ... see if I can get to the bottom of why the [equipment] can’t stay up 24 hours a day.”

Wise said “it makes no sense. The restaurants will not make any money if they do what the city is asking.”

Wise mentioned a third alternative: Following a city Development Services Department outdoor dining concept, restaurants could apply directly, without sponsorship of LJSA, to build a platform on the street’s parking spaces to remain for up to 45 days.

“The decision has to be made by the restaurants” for one of the options, Wise said. “Right now, I don’t know what’s going to go on with what we’re trying to do.”

“If option one or two is opted for, we will have to take out insurance,” LJSA President Janie Emerson said, which costs about $1,500 per year.

Wise said LJSA also will have to rent barricades for the ends of Avenida de la Playa at El Paseo Grande and Calle de la Plata and hire security, the costs of which would be reimbursed by the restaurants.

“These are a lot of hoops we had to go through,” he said.

The association agreed to wait for the restaurants’ decision, with Emerson noting that “if the restaurants want to move ahead, [LJSA] might have to get a liability policy ... before our next meeting.”

She asked the members to authorize the executive board to purchase such insurance without waiting for the July meeting. The motion passed unanimously, with Emerson abstaining, as the president doesn’t vote except to break a tie.

Board member Ed Mackey presented his design for a La Jolla Shores Association logo that he said is “unique to the area.” He “created a shore” with the two s’s in “Shores” and made “La Jolla” brown to invoke the sand.

“I kept it simple,” he said.

“We need to have a logo for many reasons,” Emerson said, citing a desire to add a logo to signage and other materials, as well as recent cases in which all La Jolla community groups signed communications to the city and LJSA was the only one without a logo.

Some board members wanted palm trees added to the design.

Member Mary Coakley Munk offered whales as an idea. “I might like to see [La Jolla] in blue,” she said.

A motion to accept Mackey’s design passed with eight affirmative votes.

Member Keys Allan voted no, saying: “This is always a challenging thing to do. … I think palm trees incorporated would give it more life and more spirit.”

In addition to Emerson, Wise abstained, saying: “I just don’t care for it. I’d like to see an alternative, but you don’t have one.”

Other LJSA news

Future College: Emerson said LJSA “finally received documents at the end of May” from UC San Diego after filing a public records request as part of its objection to the university’s Future College Living & Learning Neighborhood project.

“We are trying to determine what environmental documents are going to be used,” Emerson said.

UCSD liaison Anu Delouri said the university is “currently working on a consistency analysis to supplement the long-range development plan, in which this project was evaluated.”

Delori added that the project’s website has been updated with a “robust Q&A based on community comments and a project sheet with presentation. As always, we’re happy to engage in and facilitate dialogue associated with the project.”

Delouri said UCSD’s planned presentation at the University of California regents’ July meeting has been postponed due to coronavirus-related scheduling delays. “We will be presenting at the September regents meeting” at UCLA, she said.

Emerson said LJSA is still fundraising for attorney fees and “generally moving forward with [the opposition].”

Election of officers for 2020-21: Board member Dede Donovan led the LJSA nominating committee to nominate Emerson as president, Munk as first vice president, John Shannon as second vice president, Charlie Brown as secretary and Pam Boynton as treasurer for the 2020-21 term. All were unanimously approved, with Emerson abstaining. ◆