San Diego Community News Group

Reacting to UC San Diego’s controversial proposal to construct five new multi-story buildings on campus, two opposing La Jolla groups have engaged legal representation, joining three other civic groups to band together to try to put the project on hold.

The La Jolla Shores Association City advisory group and the Black Horse Homeowners Association have both hired lawyers to represent them in the ongoing negotiations between the university and La Jollans. Residents argue that the volume and scale of the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood project is excessive and will result in unmitigated traffic and access impacts that need to be addressed further.

The project, proposed in a parking lot adjacent to La Jolla Playhouse, is designed to provide residential living and administrative space for a new undergraduate college, with approximately 2,000 undergraduate beds, classrooms, approximately 1,200 spaces underground parking and conference and retail space.

The new development, consisting of three nine- to 11-story buildings located along the campus and two taller 16- and 21-story buildings located inside the site to the east, would have a conference above the one of the buildings and a public market on the ground floor.

“Due to the current national health emergency, the La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Shores Association, La Jolla Traffic & Transportation and La Jolla City Council have postponed the co-hosted LJCPA meeting. April 2, “the four groups said in a joint letter to the University. “We hope to be able to co-organize this same event with the presentation of the project by UCSD to the community during the LJCPA meeting on May 7.”

A second letter signed and sent by LJSA president Janie Emerson to the university recently dovetailed with the four groups’ joint letter. But it goes further by essentially asking for a “timeout” on the project, to allow negotiations to continue between the two parties.

“The LJSA wants to contact you as we are all now in compulsory receivership in our homes,” Emerson said. “Obviously, current events have put everything on hold… A suspension of this FCLLN project schedule will allow LJSA, the community and UCSD to continue safe and open discussions about this project and how to move forward together. . Further, such suspension is an indication of good faith to the community by UC San Diego. “

University spokesperson Leslie Sepuka responded, “Everything UC San Diego does is motivated by its academic and research mission, with particular emphasis on meeting the needs of our students. The university is mandated by the state to increase enrollment, which has enabled the campus to add more than 8,000 undergraduate students over the past eight years.

“This growth places a responsibility on the campus to provide appropriate infrastructure and facilities, with student housing being of paramount importance. The main driver of our current development plan is to welcome a student population that already exists.

“The university proposed an April 2 meeting hosted by LJCPA that was postponed due to security recommendations,” the university’s response continued. “The university is working on presenting at an upcoming meeting, the date and format of which are yet to be confirmed. [The project] will be considered for approval at a meeting with the UC Regents, the date of which is yet to be confirmed. During the pandemic, the university continued to share information about the project through online channels and the media, and continues to receive community feedback online, by email and by phone. “

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Some residents and groups of La Jolla insist that the continued university “slippage” in the surrounding neighborhoods is causing traffic jams endangering public safety. A few, like LJSA’s Emerson, argue that the university’s current plans for development are out of date.

“They shouldn’t be thinking of dinosaurs with these huge concrete buildings,” she said. “They should be doing something really forward thinking, like having online lessons from teachers from across the country and the world. We need new thinking for the future. That’s how UC San Diego started out, doing something really different for the Revelles. Their mission (of universities) is to teach and educate, not to build buildings that house people.

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