Civic report: La Jolla Community Planning Association, Dec. 6
by Mariko Lamb
Published - 12/12/12 - 03:46 PM | 7594 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Landscape architect Jim Neri proposed a plan to balance coastal access, erosion control and beautification of Goldfish Point by re-introducing native plants to the area, filling some of its eroded gullies with natural pebble, and installing a post and chain leading to a trodden pathway for coastal access to the beach. Image courtesy of Jim Neri
Landscape architect Jim Neri proposed a plan to balance coastal access, erosion control and beautification of Goldfish Point by re-introducing native plants to the area, filling some of its eroded gullies with natural pebble, and installing a post and chain leading to a trodden pathway for coastal access to the beach. Image courtesy of Jim Neri
Trustees scrutinize proposed amendments to land development code

At its Dec. 6 meeting, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees found two points of contention in proposed amendments to the city’s land development code, taking exception, in one case, to a proposed amendment that would change the permitting process for the establishment of sidewalk cafés. The proposed code change would reduce the minimum path of travel from 8 feet to 5 feet, allow sidewalk cafes to set up a single row of tables and chairs within a 4-foot-6-inch extension of the establishment without the need for a barrier and reduce the process level from a neighborhood-use permit process 2 to a process 1, which would cut the community-level input out of the process.

“It loosens the standard and I don’t see any reason for it,” said trustee Jim Fitzgerald, who proposed rejection of the planned amendment.

Trustees also opposed a proposed code change that would allow new development in all zones to observe a previously conforming side setback for up to 50 percent of the length of the building envelope. Presently, only new developments in RM-1 zones are permitted to adhere to previously conforming side setbacks for up 50 percent of the length of the building. The new standard would extend the rule to all zones. Trustees rejected the proposed amendment, emphasizing that there should be no extension of existing previously conforming setbacks.

The LJCPA also motioned to request an adequate definition of “fuel-efficient vehicles” for one proposed parking amendment. Other proposed parking amendments were directed to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board for review.

Some of the 52 proposed changes clarified inconsistent language in the code, while others amended permit processes, parking, green building regulations, measurements and planned districts. To view a full summary of the amendments, visit

Landscape architect envisions slice of Torrey Pines at Goldfish Point

Jim Allen, owner of Sunny Jim Cave Store, retained landscape architect Jim Neri to re-vegetate Goldfish Point, the coastal bluff area adjacent to Allen’s store, which has eroded over the years.

“About 200 years ago, this area looked a lot more like Torrey Pines State Reserve than it does today,” Neri said. “This was a vegetated point, undoubtedly, because if you look at the areas around it, they’re all vegetated. It was just be-cause of human use that has occurred in the last 150 years or so that it was diluted.”

In 1993, a group of community members committed to preserving the land, while also providing safety to pedestrians visiting the area, resulting in the construction of a stairway and an observation platform on the bluff. Additionally, in order to cater to divers who use Goldfish Point as an entrance point to the ocean, the city built a fence and gate providing a designated area to access the water.

“The plan is to re-vegetate it for the sake of beauty, for the sake of erosion control and re-vegetate it the way that it was rather than the way that it has been re-vegetated recently,” Neri said of recent attempts to re-vegetate the area using non-native plants. “The intent of this plan is to remove all of the vegetation that has been recently planted there and to re-plant it with a native vegetation that we find growing in that area.”

Neri’s plan also includes filling a deep eroded gully with cobble to allow the sediment to erode into the surrounding rock.

“We’re not going to stop erosion. What we’re trying to do is slow it down, take it back to square one,” he said. “The other thing we’d like to do is to encourage people to be safe without curtailing public access, including diver access down to the rocks below.”

The LJCPA-approved conceptual plan calls for the removal of the gate in the existing fence and the installation of a post and chain outside the fence. The existing public access trail to the water will remain accessible by simply stepping over the low hanging chain.

“We want to let people out there. We want them to see what they want to see. We want to keep them safe, but we don’t want to have them run over the entire bluff and further the erosion that has occurred there,” Neri said. “Like at Torrey Pines State Reserve, they have very subtle signs that say ‘area closed for plant rehabilitation.’ That’s the kind of subtle cues we’d like to give people who choose to head down there — that they stay on the beaten path and let the plants establish. Hopefully, it becomes a little piece of Torrey Pines State Reserve right here at Goldfish Point.”

Neri has agreed to return to the LJCPA after the city’s Park & Recreation Department reviews his plan.

In the neighborhood

• The city’s new council District 1 boundaries took effect Dec. 3, consolidating all of La Jolla into one council district.

“We’re really excited to have all of La Jolla reunited under one council district,” said Erin Demorest, representative for District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. “Thanks to everybody here who worked hard on that project to get all of La Jolla together under one council district.”

• La Jolla resident Gail Forbes commented on planned road improvements at Seaweed Canyon at UCSD, stating the changes could potentially be intrusive and “may not be as benign as described.”

• The San Diego City Council voted to dedicate nearly 6,600 acres of additional open space, adding extra layers of protection from development on those lands.

“Through the efforts of councilmember Lightner, they managed to squeeze an additional 800 acres, so about 6,600 acres citywide is to be dedicated,” said LJCPA vice president Joe LaCava. “Unfortunately, our Fay Avenue bike path was not on that list for legal and technical reasons that could not be solved, but we can come back to that.”

LJCPA news

• The Planning Commission will hear a request on the Tong residence for an extension of time at the City Council Chambers on Dec. 13 at 9 a.m.

• CD recordings of the LJCPA meetings can be picked up in-person at the LJCPA office. For more information, call (858) 456-7900 or email

• LJCPA president Tony Crisafi requested that a representative of UCSD Physical and Community Planning provide a formal presentation to summarize development plans for the area around the MESOM building. The purpose of the regularly scheduled presentation is so LJCPA trustees and community members are informed about any public view issues and future development, he said.

Development projects

• Coastal development permits (CDP) and site development permits (SDP) for the Roberts, Butterfield and Rickards residences were approved.

• Trustees approved the removal of handicap parking at 7525 High St.

• Applicants for the Gaxiola residence, located at 2414 Calle del Oro, were asked to return to the LJCPA meeting in January with more accurate renderings of their proposed project to demolish an existing one-story, 3,178-square-foot residence to construct a new two-story 11,696-square-foot residence, two-car garage, pool and attached guest quarters on a 29,120-square-foot lot. Some neighbors were concerned that the flat-roof, contemporary-style home would compromise the neighborhood unity of the area, which they say are primarily one-story, ranch-style homes with gabled roofs.

Trustee Laura Ducharme Conboy also emphasized that the amount of hardscape covering the street-facing portion of the site was excessive and unappealing, and the project renderings shown at the meeting were not up-to-date or accurate.

“I would recommend that you take your drawings back and correct them. Maybe go back to the committee level and try to get more of a consensus on it,” she said. “It just seems that there is not enough information here that I can rely on. What is accurate, what’s not accurate, we don’t know.”

City news

• The city will begin a public input process for the “Coastal Rail Trail,” a north-south bike path from Sorrento Valley to the Rose Creek bike path. For anyone interested in participating in the process, email Erin Demorest at

• The Community Forest Advisory Board has vacancies on its board. The city’s 14-member board advises the mayor on all policy issues relating to urban forestry. Anyone interested in filling the vacancies can contact Alissa Gabriel at or call (619) 236-6460.

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