La Jolla Shores Association presses opposition to UC San Diego expansion project

A rendering depicts UC San Diego's planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

UC San Diego’s Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood project appears to be progressing as scheduled, despite continued opposition from the La Jolla Shores Association.

UCSD is slated to present its plans to the UC Board of Regents on Sept. 15 for approval to begin construction.

The TDLLN project, previously named the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood, is an expansion of UCSD as part of the university’s 2018 long-range development plan, or LRDP.

A UC San Diego expansion project has undergone changes in name and description, but whatever the name, the La Jolla Shores Association is continuing to move forward with its opposition.

The proposal calls for five buildings ranging from nine to 21 stories tall. The project is designed to house 2,000 students with space for a conference center, hotel rooms, classrooms and retail. It also includes a 1,200-space parking garage underneath. The addition is proposed for La Jolla Village Drive at North Torrey Pines Road.

In April, LJSA retained an attorney to assist the group in its opposition to the UCSD project. The association is concerned about lack of community input and the project’s size and potential traffic impacts.

“The Public Records Act request that the attorney filed for us has only been partially responded to by the university,” LJSA President Janie Emerson said at the association’s Aug. 12 meeting. “We are supposed to be getting an environmental document which we’ve asked for since the beginning. ... We’ve received nothing.”

Emerson later told the La Jolla Light that the LJSA request for public records was for “all documents related to FCLLN [now TDLLN]. The response back was, ‘It’s too broad; you have to name specific documents.’ How are you going to name specific documents when you don’t know what they have?

“We really can’t launch a lawsuit without seeing the environmental document that they’re using specific to this project.”

UCSD representatives did not attend the Aug. 12 meeting, but UCSD associate director of communications Leslie Sepuka said in an email to the Light that “the 2018 LRDP environmental impact report comprehensively addresses the potential environmental effects of anticipated campus growth discussed in the 2018 LRDP, as well as the addition of two new colleges and expansion of on-campus student housing, which includes the proposed project.”

But Emerson said she is concerned that within that plan, only a “couple of lines” refer to the project, which was then called “eighth college.”

The project has “morphed” multiple times and “there’s no relation” to the environmental document in the LRDP and the project as it is now, Emerson said. “How can their environmental report, part of the LRDP in 2018, cover this?”

Sepuka said that “pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, a CEQA consistency analysis is being prepared. This will be included as an addendum to the 2018 LRDP EIR. ... The addendum will be posted on the PlanDesignBuild website,, under the ‘environmental planning’ tab in September.”

Construction machinery and fencing at UC San Diego, pictured Aug. 14.
Construction equipment at UC San Diego, pictured Aug. 14, raised suspicions of La Jolla Shores Association President Janie Emerson because of its placement and timing relative to UCSD’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Also at the LJSA meeting, Emerson said she was concerned about “huge earth-moving vehicles” in the area where TDLLN is planned.

Emerson said Steve Hadley, a representative of San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, inquired about the construction machinery with UCSD representative Anu Delouri. Hadley was told “they were for infrastructure issues up there in Revelle College,” Emerson said.

Hadley told the board that “we haven’t followed up and asked what projects are benefiting from this infrastructure.”

Sepuka told the Light that UCSD parking lot 103, where the construction equipment was sighted, is adjacent to Revelle College. “The large construction vehicles are needed as part of a campus utilities improvement project (water, sewer and electrical duct bank) in the Revelle College area,” she said.

“There is also some tree maintenance work occurring in this area and the remainder of the campus as part of regular and ongoing landscape maintenance,” Sepuka said.

Emerson said the placement and timing of the vehicles warranted suspicion. ◆