Despite new federal historic status, La Jolla post office lacks similar nod from city


By Pat Sherman

Following news this month that La Jolla’s Wall Street post office has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force announced that it is still working to receive such a designation from the City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board (HRB).

Since August, the task force has been inquiring with the HRB about having the building designated as a local historic landmark — another key step in its efforts to save the post office from relocation by the United States Postal Service (USPS), and its historic building demolished or significantly altered by a new owner.

Currently, if a building has a national historic designation, but no such recognition from the City of San Diego, it is not listed as historic within the city’s permitting department — leaving the building vulnerable to demolition by a potential buyer.

A spokesperson for the office of District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner said that in order to obtain a local historic listing, the task force needs to provide the city with a copy of the historic nomination report accepted by the Keeper of the National Register (a National Park Service

official), as well as a city nomination fee of $1,185. “As soon as that has been received, city staff will docket the item for the first available HRB hearing,

which is typically 3 to 6 weeks out, depending upon when the materials are received,” Lightner’s office responded. “So far, city staff has not yet received the information required.”

Though, given the post office’s federal historic status, the task force had asked the city to waive its nomination fee, Lightner’s office said the fee can not be waived or reduced per the mandates of Proposition 26.

Post office task force Chair Leslie Davis said the United States Postal Service, which favors local designation, has indicated that the post office may be exempt from paying a local nomination fee.

In response to the task force’s plea that the city streamline the local designation process, Lightner’s office said city staff “agreed to bring forward options for possible code revisions related to automatic listing to the full board in January or February.”

Since the property is listed on the National Register, a local Historic Resource Research Report will not be required, Lightner’s office said.

Though USPS told the task force it had filled out the local nomination forms, Cathy Winterrowd with the city’s planning department said she had not yet received them.