Lawsuit against UC San Diego project is ‘alive and well,’ La Jolla Shores Association says

Parking lot P103 at UC San Diego is permanently closed as construction is underway on TDLLN.
Parking lot P103 at UC San Diego is permanently closed as construction is underway on the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

LJSA also hears updates regarding the Torrey Pines Gliderport, an SDG&E undergrounding project and the fourth draft of San Diego’s Parks Master Plan.


A lawsuit brought by the La Jolla Shores Association and the homeowners association of the nearby Blackhorse Farms gated community against UC San Diego over its Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood project is pressing forward, with a schedule of proposed dates submitted July 6.

TDLLN, which began construction in January near La Jolla Village Drive and North Torrey Pines Road, is planned to include five buildings ranging from nine to 21 stories tall. It is designed to house 2,000 students and includes a conference center, hotel rooms, classrooms and retail.

The lawsuit, filed in October, contends that the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act through impacts on endangered species, traffic, greenhouse gases and wastewater.

“I want the public to know that even though construction is going on up at UCSD that the CEQA suit is alive and well,” LJSA President Janie Emerson said during the association’s online meeting July 14.

“We have appreciated your support, both letters and donations,” Emerson said. “To see this through to the end, we will need to have your continued support.”

Donations so far have exceeded $22,000, she said.

The proposed schedule submitted to San Diego County Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor includes a response to the lawsuit from the university due Friday, July 23, and the petitioners’ opening brief due Friday, Aug. 20.

Other LJSA news

Torrey Pines Gliderport: LJSA will not take further action on a request to write a letter to the city of San Diego requesting changes at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

In May, area resident Bob Kuczewski asked LJSA to write a letter including requests to reactivate a city advisory board for the Gliderport, institute a flight waiver program, remove private membership and insurance requirements and remove fees charged to the public.

Kuczewski said his requests stemmed from “continual abuses of the public’s rights.” He also cited concerns about “accidents, bullying [and] lawlessness” that he said have been happening at the Gliderport for years. LJSA formed a subcommittee to look into the issue.

Subcommittee member Jeff Scott said he and LJSA treasurer John Shannon visited the Gliderport and spoke with management, who Scott said indicated “a strong interest in keeping the place open and ... accessible to as many people and uses as possible.”

The La Jolla Town Council sent a letter in May to City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, asking him to look into the complaints.

LaCava said at a Town Council meeting in June that the Gliderport is “well outside the capacity of the city of San Diego to operate it,” adding that the city often contracts with outside vendors.

LaCava also said the city will not reinstate the Gliderport’s advisory board “because the advisory board does not intervene” in the issues Kuczewski raised.

Scott said he discovered via LaCava representative Steve Hadley that the Gliderport is “outside the boundaries of La Jolla Shores.”

“Therefore,” Scott said, “it’s not really either appropriate or necessary for us to take a position with regard to the broad list of issues that were being raised.”

Undergrounding project: San Diego Gas & Electric will be upgrading the underground electrical system in La Jolla, with some of the work taking place in The Shores area, SDG&E regional public affairs manager Bernadette Butkiewicz said at the LJSA meeting.

SDG&E’s TL673 La Jolla Underground Cable System Replacement Project will replace about three miles of power lines between the Rose Canyon substation near Gilman Court and the top of Mount Soledad by way of Via Capri and connect to an existing package of lines down Nautilus Street to a substation at Eads Avenue and Pearl Street.

A San Diego Gas & Electric project to place power cables underground
A San Diego Gas & Electric project to place power cables underground will go up Mount Soledad along Via Capri and connect to a substation in La Jolla’s Village via Nautilus Street.
(Courtesy of SDG&E)

Construction will begin in the third quarter of this year, Butkiewicz said, with work expected to be finished at the end of 2022.

The project is still awaiting permits from the city, she said. In the meantime, SDG&E has “started some preliminary brush clearing of Revelle Drive near the 5 freeway, on one of our easements.”

Specifics regarding the construction timeline will be decided between the city and SDG&E once permits are given, Butkiewicz said.

She said the timeline will be affected by the summer beach construction moratorium. “We don’t want to add on to [beach congestion] with additional construction,” she said.

“Some project benefits that you’re going to see is enhanced safety and reliability of the electric transmission system,” which will minimize potential outages, Butkiewicz said.

The existing lines are more than 60 years old and are susceptible to damage from water leaks, she said.

The work will consist of digging new trenches in some areas, along with pulling power lines through existing trenches, Butkiewicz said.

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Parks Master Plan update: The fourth draft of San Diego’s Parks Master Plan is out and may impact funding for La Jolla parks, La Jollan Diane Kane said at the LJSA meeting.

Kane spoke as a member of the Parks and Recreation Coalition, or PARC, which has reviewed Parks Master Plan drafts and recommended changes since the plan was presented to the City Council in November as one of four parts of the “Complete Communities” initiative.

The three other parts were approved, but council members asked that the Parks Master Plan be revised. Since then, five new council members have been installed.

In June, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria launched “Parks for All of Us,” which included a draft of the Parks Master Plan, listing priorities such as improvement and maintenance of existing parks, facilities, open spaces and trails, fitness and wellness programs, senior programs, efforts to improve parks safety and land acquisition for new parks.

The July 14 Parks Master Plan draft, Kane said, “in many respects doesn’t affect La Jolla very much because it’s dealing with park-deficient communities. … We are very fortunate to have a number of wonderful parks.”

“The downside of that,” she added, “is they are regional parks and we get a tremendous amount of visitorship, but we don’t get the resources from the city to keep the parks looking their best. We’re left to our own devices to keep these parks maintained.”

The Parks Master Plan, she said, is “primarily a plan that has been put together with the building industry in order to … [get] development impact fees from new development to divert them to park development and maintenance.”

“La Jolla has almost no development impact fees,” Kane said. “Most of the money that will be collected will be going toward communities of concern.

“One of the things we are fighting for is to get additional parkland committed as part of this plan for accommodating increased population growth over the next 50 to 60 years, which is what people are anticipating will be the time frame for this particular plan.” ◆