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DPR approves San Diego’s plans for stormwater project near La Jolla Farms Road

A map shows the proposed construction of a new storm drain and energy dissipater near La Jolla Farms Road.
A map presented to La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee on July 20 shows the proposed construction of a new storm drain and energy dissipater near La Jolla Farms Road.
(City of San Diego)

By providing a visual representation of what it would like to build, the city of San Diego got the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee’s approval for a pipeline replacement and construction of an energy dissipater during DPR’s July 20 meeting online.

City projects that require a coastal development permit and/or a site development permit must go through DPR.

The project location is west of La Jolla Farms Road between Blackgold Road and Greentree Lane. It would construct 252 linear feet of 18-inch reinforced concrete storm drain with curb inlet and a concrete energy dissipater (a structure that reduces the velocity of water coming down a stream or hill). Approximately 58 feet of existing storm drain would be abandoned. The goal is to capture stormwater and better manage its flow, according to project managers.

The project also would replace an inlet in the curb with a wider storm drain and revegetate the hillside when the work is complete.

An energy dissipater similar to what the city would like to build in the hillside near La Jolla Farms Road.
(City of San Diego)

A draft environmental document was prepared in late 2018, and in coming months, the city will need to obtain permits from the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife and obtain required easements. Next year, it will finalize plans and construction documents and intends to start building next fall. Construction and revegetation are expected to be complete in winter 2024.

In the city’s first presentation of the project to DPR on July 13, images, renderings, topographical maps and construction details were not provided. Trustee Diane Kane said “we needed to see the bigger picture.”

During the follow-up presentation July 20, project manager Ikhlass Shamoun showed an energy dissipater that is “a little larger” than the one the city plans to install near La Jolla Farms Road, along with the new path of travel for the water coming from the street to Black’s Beach below, a map of construction efforts and more.

Trustee Greg Jackson said “the city responded admirably to what they were asked. A+ on their response. That does not always happen.”

With a better idea of the project’s scope, the conversation switched to how it would be executed.

Given that the land is owned by UC San Diego, Shamoun said contractors have “a temporary construction access easement that we’re working with UCSD Real Estate on. That is the only area that construction equipment can go through.”

Shamoun said “the staging area would be contained and stabilized in accordance with the state and water board construction general permit,” which would include requirements such as fencing and gravel bags.

Equipment could include a dump truck, cement mixers, cranes, backhoes and bulldozers, though the contractor could opt for excavation by hand. “We can’t tell them the means of doing the work; if they would like to use hand tools, they can,” Shamoun said. “Or if they want to use the big equipment, they can, but they have to be confined to the easement that we have.” The only access will be through La Jolla Farms Road.

Senior planner Gretchen Eichar said there would be archaeological monitoring onsite.

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed 6-0.

The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee meets the second and third Tuesdays of each month. The next meeting is at 4 p.m. Aug. 10. It is not yet known whether the meeting will be online, in person or a hybrid. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆