The La Jolla Shores Permit Review (LJSPR) committee met on March 27 and denied Hillel’s request for a street vacation necessary for developing the Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCSD. LJSPR voted 5 in favor, 1 opposed, with 2 abstensions, on a motion that findings could not be made to support the street vacation. Michael Morton cast the only dissenting vote in favor of the street vacation. Hillel of San Diego board member Josh Richman presented to the LJSPR on behalf of Hillel.
It was inspiring to see the many friends of Hillel who came out to show their support. Thank you for being there!
Hillel is in the process of applying for a permit to construct the Center for Jewish Life in La Jolla across from UCSD. Part of the process involves presenting before a variety of community planning groups on certain issues. These community planning groups and subcommittees’ actions are advisory and not binding on the City Council, who are the final decision makers. Indeed, the City Council approved our project in 2006 and the sale of the land, even though all of the local planning groups opposed the project. Nevertheless, it is a necessary step of the planning process and demonstrates our honest desire to be good neighbors.
On March 27, the committee voted on whether Hillel’s project met certain qualifications to provide for a “street vacation,” a technical requirement for developing the land we purchased from the city. The committee voted against Hillel.
Unfortunately, the committee ignored key facts in their decision.
1) The cul-de-sac does not currently allow for any parking. The curb is painted red forbidding any parking there. There are four parking spots on the spur from La Jolla Scenic leading up to the cul-de-sac. Converting the cul-de-sac to a public park with a meandering pedestrian and bike path is clearly a better public benefit than an inadequate turnaround and four parking spaces for visitors to UCSD.
2) Hillel’s proposed development would result in a street width that conforms completely to the City’s streetscape manual, allows for a better non-contiguous sidewalk and establishes a better setback.
But we will not be deterred. The local planning groups have not been supportive of the project in the past and remain unsupportive.
The most important meeting will be later this year at San Diego City Council, which will have the authority to rule on the permit directly.
There will be other community planning meetings at which your presence will be helpful to demonstrate to the planning groups and members of the community that Hillel has wide support for this project. We will inform you as soon as we know when Hillel is on the agenda at one of those upcoming meetings.
[See the La Jolla Light coverage of this meeting.]