UCSD parking agreement called into question: Scripps Seaside Forum/UCSD may not be complying with California Coastal Commission parking agreement

Scripps Seaside Forum/UCSD may not be complying with California Coastal Commission parking agreement

Although Scripps Seaside Forum received an “orchid” award from the San Diego Architectural Foundation when it opened in 2009, some beach-users are giving the venue an “onion” for purportedly not living up to the terms of a parking agreement it entered into with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) in 2007, when the commission issued UC San Diego a coastal development permit to build the venue.

A 2007 CCC staff report notes that while 53 metered parking spaces would be removed to develop Scripps Seaside Forum, UCSD “provided documentation that adequate parking exists on campus to accommodate the proposed development without adversely affecting beach-goers who use parking and, when large conferences are held, a shuttle program will be implemented to transport people to and from campus parking lots elsewhere on campus.”

The CCC agreement requires UCSD to provide at least 83 paid public parking spaces in lots P002 and P003 on weekends and university holidays to assure there is “no reduction in parking that has historically been available to the public at the project site.”

San Diego attorney Pamela Wilson, who attended UCSD and said she has been using that stretch of beach in La Jolla Shores since she was 18, contacted the CCC in September of 2014 after discovering the parking issue.

Although Wilson said the CCC assured her they were working with UCSD to address the problem, on a recent weekend Wilson found that many parking spaces in lots P002 and P003 were reserved the entire day for a wedding taking place at the forum.

“Frequently, whenever there’s weddings — and I’m sure it’s a huge moneymaker for UCSD — they were constantly putting up signs saying, ‘You can’t park here (at certain times)’ … so I went and found out that this had all been set out in their permit that they weren’t supposed to be doing what they were doing,” she said.

Wilson said on another occasion she witnessed valet staff at Scripps Seaside Forum parking attendees’ cars on adjacent public streets, instead of in other UCSD lots.

CCC program analyst Alexander Llerandi told La Jolla Light progress on resolving the issue has been slow due to scheduling conflicts, though he assured that CCC and UCSD representatives are “making progress toward a solution to ensure these spots are more consistently provided as required (by the CCC permit conditions).”

“I’ve contacted UCSD and they acknowledge their awareness of the issue,” Llerandi said, adding he expects some concrete solutions to be hammered out this week.

“We’re looking at things like improving the signage on-site to make it clear to the public that it is public parking and where they can park, because right now the signage can be a little ambiguous as to whether there’s public parking and when it’s available,” he said. “It’s a popular wedding venue, especially during the summer, so when they have events like that, the patrons or the leaseholder who organizes the events may not be aware of parking limitations.”

Llarandi also confirmed UCSD may not have adequately completed a parking and traffic study required by the CCC in 2007, also a condition of its permit for the forum.

“I haven’t found some of the information that’s (requested) in the permit and I’ve spoken to UCSD about that,” he said. “We’re in the process of updating their (annual) internal parking surveys so it will include the specific information called out in the permit.”

Anu Delouri, UCSD assistant director of communications and community planning, acknowledged that the university is in discussions with the CCC to correct the problem, which she said may have been an oversight due to a change in management or staff turnover at Scripps Seaside Forum or UCSD. “We have to make sure that whatever was committed in the Coastal Commission’s special (permit) conditions is being done,” she said.