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Planners OK Salk plans

The Salk Institute’s planned expansion will now advance to the city council after last week’s approval of the planning commission.

On Sept. 4, the commission, which had put it on their consent agenda, approved the tentative map and master planned development, coast and site development permits for the project adjacent to the existing institute.

“Everybody agreed it was such an admirable project, we felt we could do it on consent,” said planning commissioner Tim Golba, a La Jollan. “We had a number of speaker slips all in favor of the project, including people and groups who usually speak in opposition, which carried enormous weight with the Commission.”

Environmentalists and Salk officials, who were far apart at first on mitigation for Salk’s expansion, were able to reach a common ground through negotiations.

“We just worked with them (Salk) for years and were able to come up with a negotiated settlement that addressed all of the major outstanding issues,” said Joanne Pearson, chair of the San Diego Sierra Club Coastal Committee.

The project proposes a phased expansion to the existing Salk campus, including demolition of the west buildings and accessory building, and the phased construction of the Torrey East Laboratory Building, Salk Community Center, North Peninsula underground parking facility, and greenhouses, for a total of 476,000 square feet upon completion.

The Salk Institute is on a 26.3-acre site with more than 289,000 square feet of space at 10010 North Torrey Pines Road. Two new underground parking garages would be built near the existing on-site surface lots.