Community Leader’s View: La Jolla’s development process worth the effort

By Tony Crisafi

President, La Jolla Community Planning Association

Every month three joint committees under the La Jolla Community Planning Association umbrella review applications for. They are the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (LJSPRC), the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee (LJPDO) and the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee (DPR).

Every month as many as 29 joint committee members engage in the process of obtaining applications from the city’s Development Services Department, reviewing the applications, setting agendas, assisting applicants in familiarizing them with the process, running the public meetings, and reporting their actions to the Community Planning Association. They also follow the project through the city review process to ensure that the project’s design incorporates community input, which was agreed upon by the applicants during public review.

This is an intensive process, to say the least, but well worth the efforts considering the cost and resources applied to redeveloping in La Jolla when you include committee members’ hundreds of volunteer hours and the applicant’s time as well. One of the reasons that I believe it takes this amount of effort is that a community such as La Jolla

has broad guidelines for redevelopment. Any style is acceptable in our neighborhoods but visually, development plans need to demonstrate that they fit in to the neighborhood comfortably and do not adversely impact the existing fabric of the neighborhood.

This is an oversimplification of the criteria but I believe it to be the basis of our efforts to determine whether proposed development meets the policy and the codes of the city and community.

Still, there are risks involved in the process. Applications may be denied in total or in part when components of the design do not meet the guidelines. Successfully gaining a permit is something that all stakeholders— applicants, neighbors and community — are looking for in the process. Reducing the risk and increasing the certainty that one can build something beautiful and functional provides long‐term value.

One way to reduce risk and find success as an applicant is to adhere to the quantitative guidelines of the city Municipal Code and the Local Community Plan. At the Aug. 4 LJCPA meeting, trustees addressed such an issue by debating and then taking actions requesting that the city confirm that the Development Services Department enforces the allowable “floor area ratios” on properties in La Jolla Shores.

I believe that by enforcing the citywide floor area regulations, commonly know as FARS, the level of desired certainty to the process and long‐term value to the community will be increased.