Residents in Bird Rock really know how to work together, and it’s showing.
Over four years, they’ve developed a new traffic-calming plan and beautification plan for La Jolla Boulevard and the surrounding blocks. They’ve also worked to create a maintenance assessment district to support that effort. On Aug. 2, this vision became a reality with a 59 percent vote in favor of formation.
To give you an idea of the quality of this feat, there are 42 maintenance assessment districts in the city of San Diego, but almost all of them were set up before the communities were built. A majority of the time, as in Carmel Valley or Rancho Bernardo, maintenance assessment districts were formed by the master developer for that area.
Only two already-built neighborhoods outside of a redevelopment area have been successful in establishing maintenance assessment districts. Bird Rock is the third.
In communities with maintenance assessment districts, dedicated crews meticulously care for medians and other public spaces every day. Citizens can contact their own area manager and get the trees trimmed or the weeds pulled with minimal effort.
Anyone who has tried to get those same things accomplished in La Jolla was probably very frustrated. Since La Jolla shares a maintenance crew with the rest of the city, our needs get put on the same long list as every other area, and staff gets to them when possible, if ever.
The Bird Rock traffic plan called for increased landscaping to add vertical dimension to the project. But additional landscaping does not fit in with the city of San Diego’s miniscule landscape maintenance budget of $.18 per square foot.
Without community funding, the city manager and landscape staff would only support projects that add concrete or asphalt rather than green space. I thought that was not appropriate for Bird Rock. My goal has been to increase safety and neighborhood walkability while at the same time making the area even more beautiful.
Bird Rock’s maintenance assessment district will enhance levels of maintenance services in the public right-of-way, for example: irrigation, dead tree removal, turf mowing, removal of graffiti, maintenance of street benches, litter removal and sidewalk steam cleaning. Most important, the dedicated funding source means that Bird Rock will no longer need to compete with the rest of the city for a crew to clean the trash out of their medians.
With a 59 percent vote in favor of forming the maintenance assessment district, the Bird Rock community made it clear that they are willing to pay a small amount per year to get wonderful benefits for their community.
In addition to the high percentage voting in favor of the maintenance assessment district, more than 65 percent of respondents favored the maintenance assessment district being managed and controlled by the Bird Rock Community Council. This will allow the community itself to administer the spending of the assessment dollars to achieve enhanced maintenance levels.
Formation of the district gives Bird Rock the power of local control many La Jollans have sought for decades.
I applaud the Bird Rock Beautification Committee, the Traffic Calming Task Force, the Community Council and every dedicated volunteer who helped the community through this process. Bird Rock is a neighborhood coming together with a solution to help their community thrive.
I look forward to sharing your future success.
City Councilman Scott Peters represents District 1, which in cludes La Jolla