Let’s go back to the drawing board together on zoning

La Jollans are rightfully proud of their community and protective of its unique character.

This sense of pride and ownership is part of what makes our community so special. Any potential change to the look and feel of our neighborhoods must be given thoughtful consideration and opportunities for productive public discussion.

Revisions to the Bird Rock portion of the La Jolla planned district ordinance, or PDO, are currently being considered by the La Jolla Community Planning Association. The PDO is a set of zoning rules and regulations tailored specifically to meet the needs of La Jolla, which supplement the citywide Land Development Code.

I have heard from many members of our community who are concerned about some of the proposed changes to the PDO, including increased density along La Jolla Boulevard. I fear that the discussion has become more of a debate about the number of stories within the inviolate 30-foot height limit than about how our neighborhoods should look and feel in the future.

It’s time for us to step back, take everything off the table for now and start over. We can and should find another way to describe how a vibrant and mixed-use community like ours should be defined, one that is public, transparent and easy to understand. I’m working to bring in an experienced and knowledgeable planning consultant to listen to the community and bring us to consensus. This person must be familiar with the Bird Rock community and its special needs and attributes.

I want to empower the community to create the plan itself and not by downtowners or outsiders, as we did with the successful Bird Rock traffic calming plan and the maintenance assessment district. I hope to be able to make an announcement in the community soon.

San Diego recently marked a significant milestone in our new form of city government. It has been just over 100 days since we embarked on the five-year experiment of a mayor/council form of city leadership. We’ve also seen the introduction of the first city budget to be proposed by the mayor, analyzed by the independent budget analyst and deliberated on by the City Council.

I’m pleased that Mayor Jerry Sanders has eliminated many of the budget gimmicks of the past that hid the true costs of running our city. His proposed budget maintains service levels at our parks and libraries and includes modest increases in the budget for street resurfacing and other neighborhood services. I know that these day-to-day services are extremely important to the residents of La Jolla. I will fight to ensure that the infrastructure and maintenance needs of our community are not overlooked.

The council will take public testimony and consider the budgets of public safety, libraries, parks and other departments over several days this month. I encourage you to review the city’s proposed budget, which is available on the city’s Web site,

City Council President Scott Peters represents District 1, which includes La Jolla. Call his office at (619) 236-6611.