Council OKs controversial Bird Rock Station


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.”