Citing aesthetics and “superior design,” the City Council on Tuesday overruled community opposition to Bird Rock Station when they denied an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the mixed-use, three-story project.
Bird Rock residents decried the 20,507-square-foot project that calls for 11 condos, seven commercial units, two levels of underground parking and a landscaped plaza as a precedent-setting community plan buster. It is proposed for a vacant corner lot at 5702 La Jolla Blvd.
The vote was 6-1, with Donna Frye dissenting. Brian Maienschein of District 5 was absent.
“Nobody thinks this is an ugly building,” said Council President Scott Peters in endorsing the development. “This is the first project I can remember when there wasn’t a fight over the architecture.”
Two main arguments were raised against Bird Rock Station. One is that its third-story element violates Bird Rock’s Planned District Ordinance governing commercial development.
The other is that granting such a planning “exception” opens the floodgates to similar development, not only in Bird Rock but throughout all of La Jolla.
“This is not a beauty contest,” testified Joe La Cava, president of La Jolla
Community Planning Association, which voted 7-4 against the project. “It’s not about whether you like the building. The elephant in the room here is the third-story element.”