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Decision shows system at work

BY ERIC OTTERSON

Thursday night’s La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJPCA) meeting was a shining example of good government that would have inspired Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Two sides, both advocating the interests of the community and both constrained by existing bureaucracy in their ability to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, shared their concerns, with one finally taking a leap of faith to end an ineffective stalemate and open the door to a community effort to resolve the core issue.

The players:

1) The San Diego French American School (SDFAS): seeking support of a requested increase in the permitted number of students listed in the CUP to remedy a compliance issue and accommodate the school’s long term planning.

2) The LJCPA, noting the benefit that the school provides the community, focused their attention on the existing conflict between west-bound U-turn traffic on Soledad Mountain Road at La Jolla Scenic Drive South and right turn north bound traffic from La Jolla Scenic.

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Orrin Gabsch, focused on a proposal to install a left-turn lane from Soledad Mountain Road into the school’s south driveway - eliminating the need for a U-turn at the intersection.

The school presented various traffic mitigation solutions, but the proposed left-turn lane would have the greatest direct impact. However, the school’s hands were tied as they had previously explored the option and were turned down by the city as the current conditions of the road do not meet all of the required parameters to install a left turn lane.

The LJSPA’s hands were equally tied by rules requiring a simple up/down vote, without modifications, which prevented a clean vote for those who would support the school with the addition of the left turn lane.

The final vote was cast to support the school’s request with eight supporting and five declining and one abstaining.

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Both sides agreed to work together (and welcome the support of the various homeowners associations in the surrounding communities) to petition the city for a variance in an effort to approve the badly needed left turn lane.

Eric Otterson is a trustee of the French-American School.