Local groups seek La Jolla Village merchants’ help in opposing townhome project and guiding A-frame signs

A-frame signs in La Jolla's Village
Enhance La Jolla is seeking a partnership with the La Jolla Village Merchants Association to draw up guidelines for A-frame signs on Village streets.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association, which works to help local businesses, is being asked to also support other community groups in their efforts.

During LJVMA’s meeting May 10, representatives of the Bird Rock Merchants Group, Enhance La Jolla and others sought assistance and partnerships.

Adelante Townhomes

Craig Bender of the Bird Rock group asked for LJVMA’s support in opposing the Adelante Townhomes project as it makes its way through the city of San Diego’s review process.

Developer Murfey Co. is seeking to demolish an office building and construct a two-story, 14-unit residential building with covered parking and roof decks at 5575 La Jolla Blvd., at Forward Street, in Bird Rock. The townhomes are to be offered for sale, with one unit considered affordable for low-income residents.

Because the project includes the affordable unit, Murfey Co. requested a waiver to a La Jolla Planned District Ordinance requirement that 50 percent of ground-floor space in new developments be reserved for retail in Zone 4, which includes La Jolla Boulevard.

The lack of ground-floor retail has been an issue of contention at several hearings by local groups since the project was first proposed in November.

On May 4, the La Jolla Community Planning Association lent its support to the development for a second time after having rescinded its initial approval.

The local chapter in the six-month saga of reviews and re-reviews for the Adelante Townhomes project appears to be closed after the La Jolla Community Planning Association voted for a second time to support the proposed development at its May 4 meeting.

“Part of the code is to keep merchant space … and they are bypassing the code to not have retail,” Bender said. “We want to keep our retail intact. … The idea is great, but retail would be better.”

The LJVMA board did not take a position on Adelante, which next will be reviewed by the San Diego Planning Commission.

But LJVMA President Amber Anderson said: “We can do way more together. We are both merchant councils and should be united.”

A-frame signs

Brian Earley, manager of the Village Maintenance Assessment District administered by Enhance La Jolla, said there are opportunities for Enhance La Jolla and the Village Merchants Association to work together to reduce the number of unpermitted A-frame signs.

Enhance La Jolla is a nonprofit with authority to enhance services provided by San Diego, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection. It also can privately fund and complete improvement projects in public spaces.

“We have had a couple of challenges that have come up in the last few months, especially the overabundance of A-frame signs in the right of way,” Earley said. “You see them everywhere. It creates a trip hazard if they are not positioned well. Most are out of code compliance, and our good city does not have the personnel to remind people that the sign may not be in compliance.”

He asked for LJVMA’s help to “come up with some guidelines” about the signs to distribute to area businesses.

More broadly, La Jolla Town Council President Jerri Hunt said, “I would love to see more collaboration between the Town Council and the merchants association … and see if we can do more things together.”

Members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association meet May 10 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
Members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association hear pitches for partnerships during the group’s May 10 meeting at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other LJVMA news

La Jolla walking tour: Details and costs for LJVMA’s Best of La Jolla Guided Walking and Food Tour have been finalized, and reservations can be made by visiting and searching for the tour.

Tours are offered at 12:30 p.m. every Thursday and last about four hours, including a hosted happy hour at three ocean-view restaurants. The tours cover about two miles of La Jolla and its attractions. The cost is $125.

Banner support: The board is seeking financial sponsors for banners that promote La Jolla and are hung throughout The Village.

“Those banners have seen better days in terms of their color impact … but they stay up year-round, and because we can’t have outdoor advertising in town, it is a cool opportunity,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “That is something that is up for grabs, and it is first-come, first-served.”

The city of San Diego allows 5 percent of a banner to go to a commercial enterprise, so the business name can be listed at the bottom of the banner.

The cost is $7,500 for the first year of a multi-year commitment and $5,400 for the second and third years.

Small-business board: The San Diego Small Business Advisory Board, which advises the mayor’s office on small-business issues throughout the city, is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy.

The board includes representatives of business districts, nonprofits and small-business owners, said Latrell Crenshaw of the San Diego Economic Development Department.

The Small Business Advisory Board typically meets at 8:30 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month. Meetings currently are held on Zoom.

To learn more, visit

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at ◆