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PDO Committee puts possible ordinance revisions on hold pending input from LJCPA group

The Planned District Ordinance Committee discussed the state of the Mandarin House restaurant at 6765 La Jolla Blvd.
The Planned District Ordinance Committee discussed the state of the Mandarin House restaurant at 6765 La Jolla Blvd., which has been in various stages of remodeling since a fire closed it in August 2019.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance Committee is putting possible amendments to its governing document on the back burner for the time being.

Chairwoman Deborah Marengo said at the board’s Feb. 8 meeting that because another local group also is looking at changes to the Planned District Ordinance, or blueprint for development, all the groups need to come together before proceeding with something formal.

“In the last few months, there are a lot of individuals looking at amendments to the PDO and we don’t know what they are thinking of proposing,” she said. “I was thinking about taking a step back until we get additional feedback.”

The PDO is part of the building code for the city of San Diego, which undergoes revisions once every few years. In late 2020, the committee began discussing whether and how to change the PDO during its next revision and narrowed the areas of possible change to six during its December meeting.

The topics are outdoor dining, density, hotel room limits, ground-floor retail requirements, residential units not being allowed on the ground floor of a building, and the number of stories on buildings permitted within the 30-foot height limit.

The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance review committee, which determines whether development projects in The Village conform to its blueprint for development, has identified six items in the ordinance — pertaining to allowed uses of buildings, outdoor dining and more — that might need changing.

At about the same time, a La Jolla Community Planning Association ad-hoc committee was formed to look at possible updates to regulations that apply to Village development or major Village improvement projects.

That committee is composed of architects Andy Fotsch, Brian Will and Trace Wilson, Realtors Patrick Ahern and John Shannon, and engineer and historian Matt Mangano and is helmed by Diane Kane.

In the sea of new phrases that emerged in 2020, one that has crept in has been “an ad-hoc committee put together by La Jolla Community Planning Association President Diane Kane.”

“I feel like I am hearing about all these meetings that are going on and I’m not sure what is being discussed or whether the basic chart we had outlined is being used, and there is no PDO [Committee] representation at those meetings,” Marengo said.

Kane acknowledged “there is a lot going on” with the different groups having discussions. “We want to enfold everything in The Village to see if we can get a solid vision of where we want to go and how we want to get there,” she said.

She said the Village Visioning Committee is meeting every other week and that she was reluctant to open it to broader discussion because it is “more of a think tank.” But, Kane added, “when they have something they want to share, this board will be the first people we reach out to.”

Marengo said a PDO Committee representative would participate or at least observe upcoming visioning committee meetings going forward.

“We’ll hold off on discussing it further until we have the chance to sit down as a broader group and discuss possibilities,” Marengo said.

Other PDO news

Mandarin House: After a fire closed the Mandarin House restaurant in August 2019, the building at 6765 La Jolla Blvd. has been in various stages of remodeling. However, as part of the current reconstruction, some of the equipment is exposed and it should be shielded, according to the PDO.

“There is no screening around the building and it is a potential hazard,” Marengo said. “A lot of the mechanical equipment is exposed.”

She asked if the board was comfortable contacting city code compliance officers to try to bring the building into conformance for safety and visual impacts. Rather than do that, the board agreed to try to reach the owners and get more information before filing a complaint.

Cove Suites: As part of an ongoing renovation project at La Jolla Cove Suites on Coast Boulevard, an area currently used as parking will be relandscaped and made into a terrace deck.

Plans call for construction of the deck to “bring the property closer to current PDO landscape regulations,” applicant Paul Benton said. “There is a deficiency of landscaping, and this will be used for pedestrian traffic and increased landscaping on the site.”

Landscape architect Jim Neri said the plants that will be added are “a nod to the tropical” in planters, with “coastal California” plants in the front.

A motion to approve the plans passed unanimously.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee next meets (pending items to review) at 4 p.m. Monday, March 8, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆