Opinion: Planning Associations make great communities happen. Join and be part of La Jolla’s future!



As a La Jollan, you seek ways to make your community more livable. You want to improve traffic issues and manage growth, finding just the right balance of new development. Community planning is the arm of urban design that enables civic leaders, businesses, property owners, and residents to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) has long been recognized by the City of San Diego to make recommendations to its City Council, Planning Commission, city staff and other governmental agencies on land-use matters, specifically concerning the preparation of, adoption of, amendment to, and implementation of the La Jolla Community Plan. Topics of note include community development, traffic, environmental/natural resources, parks and recreation, historic preservation, and community activism/empowerment. The LJCPA also advises on other matters as requested by the city or other governmental agency.

With the La Jolla residential population forecasted to increase, as a Village we’re all looking for ways to guide that growth into redevelopment opportunities that encourage walkability and connectivity, and promote its unique character. Good planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live! Planning helps communities find the right balance of redevelopment, essential services, environmental protection and innovation.

La Jolla faces a range of challenges including bulk and scale, cluster development, sustainability, consensus building, and urban design. Community planning and implementation is a highly collaborative field, and LJCPA board members, aka trustees, spend their time in public meetings working with others. Monthly meetings, whether with the full planning group or one of the LJCPA’s joint committees and boards, include presentations with engineers, architects, city staff and landscape architects to review the specifics of a plan, as well as comments from neighbors and interested parties.

A trustee’s role is to provide the big picture. Specifically, to relate the project to the goals and guidelines of the community plan, assure conformance to city ordinances, and to conduct, where appropriate, design review. In other words, to achieve a final project that balances the needs of the applicant, the neighbors, and the community.

Our community planners help to create a broad vision for our Village. They also research and develop programs, lead public processes, affect social change, perform technical analyses, manage and educate. Planners help the community at large and its various groups identify their goals and form a particular vision. Community planners are also responsible for the implementation or enforcement of many of the strategies, often coordinating the work of many groups of people. It is important to recognize that a plan can take a variety of forms including: policy recommendations, community action plans, comprehensive plans, neighborhood plans, regulatory and incentive strategies, or historic preservation plans.

In La Jolla, we are fortunate to have residents managing planning processes. To articulate your vision as a property owner, merchant or resident, attend and participate in a La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting. We meet on the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. The meetings are always open to the public. You can become a member by attending one meeting and completing an application form; there are no dues! Once a member, you can vote in the March trustee election, and, after attending three meetings in a year, run for a trustee seat.

Interested in getting involved? Got questions? Please send me an e-mail: