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New group forms to ‘preserve’ La Jolla Shores

A grass-roots group mobilizing to preserve La Jolla Shores’ village character shared its story with the La Jolla Shores Association board last week.

“We’ve been meeting for months based largely on the problems we see in the Avenida De La Playa business district: proposed three-story buildings, two-lots wide with little setbacks and view corridors,” said Vaughn Woods, a Shores financial planner whose office is at 2226 Avenida De La Playa. He’s leading the ad hoc group being called La Jolla Shores Tomorrow.

“This has caused such an uproar in the community that this group has evolved and morphed into a proactive organization that can assist people,” he told the association board on March 10.

The project Woods referred to is the Whitney redevelopment proposing demolition of a one-story residence and store at Avenida de la Playa and Paseo Grande. It would be replaced by 2,300 square feet of street-level retail space with parking underground and two condos above.

That project was to be discussed by the La Jolla Shores Advisory Board on Tuesday after the Light’s press time.

Last October, the La Jolla Community Planning Association, which advises the city council on land-use matters, voted 14-1 against the project.

Woods’ remarks at last week’s meeting were a prelude to a several-minute slide show depicting scenes of life at the Shores and extolling the virtues of the community’s small-town atmosphere. Characterizing the Whitney project as a “Trojan horse,” Woods’ slide show posed a choice between preserving what he called the Shores’ existing charm and the threat of “Los Angelization” should the neighborhood fail to take control of its own land-use destiny.

Shores architect Dale Naegle, whose business adjoins the proposed Whitney site and was previously involved in designing the project, said La Jolla Shores Tomorrow is gaining strength.

“We’re getting a lot of support and will be out soliciting funds,” he said, adding that the group was formed by merchants immediately surrounding the Whitney site, but is branching out to include a broader cross-section of the community.

“We wanted to help organize the community, which is full of associations, so they could have a platform that they can communicate through,” said Naegle, noting the group’s supporters number more than 100.

Woods said the group represents the shopkeepers, among others, who prize the community’s “pedestrian character and human scale.”

“It’s up to all of us,” he said of determining the community’s future physical makeup and character. “We need your vision, because without your vision we’ll end up like Los Angeles.”

A Web site for La Jolla Shores Tomorrow is under development. The group can be e-mailed at vw@vaughnwoods.com.