Hedge hazard at new upscale shopping center in La Jolla?

La Jolla resident says La Plaza landscaping could pose risks

As La Jollans await the planned March 16 opening of the new La Plaza La Jolla shopping complex at Wall Street and Girard Avenue, resident William Dunne is anxious about shrubs planted there in the public right-of-way he feels will pose a safety risk as they grow taller. Dunne said he’s concerned the shrubs fronting the curb will block access to the sidewalk, forcing those who park in front of the center to walk out into the street to get around them.

“If you park there now it’s difficult to get through the hedge to the sidewalk,” Dunne said. “As that hedge grows there will be no way for people to walk up onto the sidewalk safely. They’ll have to go out into traffic to get to the corner and back to the sidewalk. Traffic tends to move rather quickly on Girard and a lot of people don’t bother to stop for the stop sign. This is a safety problem, especially for those with young children … or the elderly.”

Dunne said he phoned the real estate agent listed on the fence several times, but received no return call, and was given the runaround by several city departments.

Contacted by the Light, City of San Diego Senior Planner Mark Brunette responded via e-mail that a city landscape inspector visited La Plaza to assess the shrubs. “The inspector informed me that the landscaping had been installed in accordance with the approved landscape plans for the project ... (which are) consistent with City of San Diego Municipal Code.”

Davlyn Investments vice president Tara Meehan told the Light the shrubs are a boxwood hedge that will fill in and grow to a height of about three feet. She said they were planted in lieu of erecting a railing along the curb.

“The city required that we incorporate landscaping into our design along Girard, and the landscaping plan was approved by La Jolla PDO committee and all building and planning permitting agencies,” Meehan said, via e-mail, adding that the hedges replace fenced-in dining tables along Girard that were part of the Jack’s restaurant complex that existed there prior to La Plaza’s redevelopment.

La Jolla Community Planning Association board president Joe LaCava said the hedges may not have been noted in all city advisory group presentations (though they were shown in early architectural drawings which also ran in La Jolla Light). However, he added, “I agree the choice to prevent folks exiting their cars from direct access to the sidewalk is very curious.”

To report landscaping issues in the public right-of-way, in city parks or on other city-owned land, phone the city’s landscape inspection hotline at (619) 980-7208.