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San Diego’s new initiative for sharing capital projects funding won’t cost La Jolla, local planners are told

The La Jolla Community Planning Association meets Aug. 4 online.
The La Jolla Community Planning Association meets Aug. 4 online.
(Courtesy of La Jolla Community Planning Association)

Looking for some insight on the possible local effects of the city of San Diego’s newly passed “Build Better SD” initiative, which addresses how capital projects are funded, the La Jolla Community Planning Association set aside time during its Aug. 4 meeting for an update.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said that for years, the city used developer fees to help fund community projects and public utilities. The money would stay in the communities in which it was generated and could not be shared across neighborhoods.

“People would come in and develop and pay into the funds, and the funds would sit there because there wasn’t enough to continue or finish a project,” Hadley said.

According to the city, there currently is a total of $222 million in unspent funds constrained by the use limits.

However, following the City Council’s Aug. 1 vote to approve Build Better SD, the money will “be put into a general pot and create accounts for things like libraries and parks … and that money is going to get used around the city where there is the most need,” Hadley said.

In La Jolla, he said, developers will have the option to do work in The Village and “work out an agreement where the city can support a project if they do x, y, z, such as streetscape projects.”

Build Better SD will not be “the case that money is going to get taken away [from La Jolla], and it is really not the case that we are going to lose money coming in,” Hadley said.

LaCava intends to speak at the Community Planning Association’s September meeting about the initiative and its potential impacts.

In a news release, LaCava applauded the initiative, saying: “Build Better SD will be a transparent conversation with our neighborhoods to deliver the infrastructure and city facilities to serve [an] increase in housing. Build Better SD ensures that we can allocate infrastructure dollars when and where they will have greatest impact while we continue to protect existing funds in their community lockboxes.”

For more information about Build Better SD, visit sandiego.gov/buildbettersd.

Other LJCPA news

A rendering of UC San Diego's planned Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood
UC San Diego’s planned Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood will be close to the Central Campus station of the Blue Line trolley, along with art installations and the Epstein Family Amphitheater.
(Perkins & Will Architects)

UCSD housing: UC San Diego recently received $100 million in state funding to build the Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood, according to a report from Anu Delori, UCSD assistant director of communications and community planning. The project is being prepared for construction, with the goal of opening in fall 2024.

Pepper Canyon West will feature single-occupancy rooms in two 22- and 23-story towers connected to five-story buildings with outdoor terrace seating. It is intended to house 1,300 transfer and upper-division undergraduate students.

The project, near the Central Campus station of the Blue Line trolley, also will feature retail, dining and access to local trails, Delori said.

988: Spencer Katz, representing the office of San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, whose District 3 includes La Jolla, reported that the county’s 988 mental health crisis number is live.

“When people are in crisis, they need an easy number to remember; that’s why we have 911,” Katz said. “We now have 988 to support folks … experiencing thoughts of suicide, mental health crisis, substance abuse crisis. Anyone that calls or texts that number will be connected to a trained counselor that can connect them with local services.”

University Community Plan: The LJCPA board also was briefed on efforts to update the University Community Plan, which have been underway almost four years. The plan covers the University City area immediately east of La Jolla.

University Community Planning Group member Andy Wiese said the effort has experienced “many delays” but also “progress on issues of mobility, forums held with large employers in the area, a number of community engagement surveys and monthly meetings … on transportation, parks and open space, housing and public facilities.”

He said a big focus has been on ways to “maximize the region’s investment in the new Blue Line trolley” extension between San Diego’s Old Town and La Jolla and University City and on how housing can be developed.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆