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Coastal Access and Parking Board to explore ‘Frustration of Purpose’ in La Jolla

La Jolla’s Coastal Access & Parking Board (CAPB), the team tasked with implementing an obsolete plan to get a Village shuttle service started to ease traffic congestion, may have found a solution out of its conundrum in a legal doctrine known as Frustration of Purpose.

Although only an idea at this time, the board announced at its March 3 meeting, it is one they are willing to explore.

Attorney Glen Rasmussen, who offered the idea, explained, “The basic premise for a Frustration of Purpose is if you make a contract to do something and the purpose becomes moot (or impossible to be performed) then the consideration for the contract fails.”

In CAPB’s case, the purpose was to use the $275,000 collected from developer fees in the 1970s and ’80s, to implement a shuttle and off-site parking reservoir. However, the board deemed the shuttle “unsustainable,” and the land for the reservoir has since been developed. Nevertheless, the city is withholding the funds until the program can be implemented.

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To apply for a Frustration of Purpose, Rasmussen said the board must come up with an alternative plan, one that accomplishes the same goal of the original plan (to make Village parking spaces available and reduce traffic from people circling slowly looking for parking), and present it to the state attorney general.

“It would free up a substantial amount of money that this committee could use as seed money to open up some parking,” said CAPB chair Deborah Marengo.

CAPB has already explored alternatives they feel meet the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding that governs the plan, and presented them to the city and the California Coastal Commission to no avail.

None of the ideas presented were considered close enough to the original terms to be implemented.

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“The city is not going to work with us and the Coastal Commission is not going to work with us. If we go through with this — the state would tell the Coastal Commission how this will be handled,” Marengo said.

In the next few months, the board will research whether its situation qualifies for a Frustration of Purpose and Marengo said she would be willing to work with a law student looking for internship work. “There is a lot of research that needs to be done before we, as a committee, decide we want to bring this forward,” she said.

To this end, Marengo moved to hold CAPB meetings quarterly instead of monthly. The next meeting will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org/cap.html