La Jolla panel advances Riford front access plan

By Dave Schwab

Plans to put a new entry to the Riford Center on Bonair Street fall in line with La Jolla’s design standards so the proposal got unanimous support from the six members of the community’s Planned District Ordinance Committee on Monday.

A number of Riford neighbors opposed to the adult center’s plan to provide disabled access through a side entry turned out for the meeting. But they were disappointed to find that the committee was only voting on whether the center’s plan conformed to PDO standards such as proper materials usage and signage and would not debate the merits of the two competing disabled-access plans.

The Bonair Street Neighborhood Group has offered an alternative design, which would include wheelchair access at the front entrance. They are worried that a new side doorway would become the de facto main entrance, disrupting their quiet residential neighborhood.

Architect Michal Morton presented details on plans for the Bonair entry during Monday’s meeting.

“For an existing building without ADA access, another entrance is allowed within 200 feet of the main public entrance,” he said, noting the doorway on Bonair is 78 feet from the front entrance.

La Jolla Shores resident Mary Coakley and architect Don Goertz talked about their counterproposal during the comment period.

Coakley noted Riford neighbors had been led to believe their plan would be accepted if it were demonstrated to be viable and the city signed off on it, both of which happened.

Riford board member Don Hodges, who is an architect, said the board gave serious consideration to the alternate plan as promised, but the board opted to go in a different direction because extra costs and complications involved with putting access in the front made it impractical.

The PDO’s recommendation will go on the consent agenda of the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s next meeting Sept. 1. If it is pulled for further discussion, the matter would be heard at the group’s Oct. 6 meeting.