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Foxhill project ‘avoids or mitigates’ significant environmental effects, city says; comments accepted

The current house on the Foxhill estate was built in 1959 by San Diego Union and Evening Tribune publisher James Copley.
The current house on the Foxhill estate was built in 1959 by San Diego Union and Evening Tribune publisher James Copley.
(Victor Goodpasture)

The city of San Diego says a proposed development on the Foxhill estate in La Jolla “avoids or mitigates” potentially significant environmental effects, and comments are being collected through June 18 to be considered for the final document, known as a mitigated negative declaration.

Plans call for coastal development and site development permits to create two lots, with the existing house on one lot and a new 9,995-square-foot dwelling including a 2,517-square-foot attached garage and outdoor covered patios and decks, a pool house and a pool on an 8.77-acre site containing environmentally sensitive land at 7007 Country Club Drive.

The city’s initial findings determined that the project could have significant effects on surrounding biological resources. However, because of subsequent revisions, the project “now avoids or mitigates the potentially significant environmental effects previously identified, and the preparation of an environmental impact report will not be required,” the city wrote in the mitigated negative declaration.

When the proposal was reviewed by La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee in January, the panel also expressed concern about potential effects on biological resources, given the proximity to a nature reserve.

At the time, Kent Coston of Coston Architects said “this project is not on the reserve, it has nothing to do with the reserve; it is entirely on Foxhill property.”

The board unanimously determined that findings could be made for the necessary permits, and its findings were ratified by the La Jolla Community Planning Association in February.

Those who want to submit comments by Friday, June 18, can email DSDEAS@sandiego.gov and reference “Foxhill TM CDP SDP/No. 508125.” To read the mitigated negative declaration, go to sandiego.gov/ceqa/draft.

The current house was built in 1959 by San Diego Union and Evening Tribune publisher James Copley. Copley, his wife, Helen, and son David used it to entertain Hollywood celebrities, visiting royalty and, once, President Richard Nixon.

James Copley died in 1973. Helen Copley lived in the mansion until her death in 2004, and David until his in 2012. David had no heirs.

In 2015, the San Diego Historical Resources Board reviewed the property but ultimately did not deem it historic.

Doug Manchester — former owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune and La Jolla Light and former President Donald Trump’s onetime appointee for U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas — bought the 32-acre estate for about $27 million in 2015.

In January 2020, Manchester listed the 8-acre main home and guesthouse for $25 million and the adjoining 24 acres for $12 million.

Manchester’s Manchester Foxhill LLC is still listed as the owner in San Diego County property tax records. ◆