Hillel back with a modified plan
by Alyssa Ramos
Published - 07/03/08 - 07:08 PM | 1230 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, submitted a new project design for a student center near the University of California, San Diego campus. But the organization's past project for the site at the corner of Torrey Pines Road at La Jolla Village Drive is still the object of ongoing litigation.

"We're meeting with the City Attorney's Office this week," said Daniel Stricker, Hillel's project manager for the City of San Diego. "There was a decision made in the past to let them submit [a new project]. Now a number of questions have been raised to discuss the status of approvals previously made."

Several years ago, Hillel, a religious nonprofit organization, responded to a Request For Proposal (RFP) from the city regarding a parcel of land adjacent from UCSD, said Hillel board member Joshua Richman. The organization, which caters to activities for Jewish college students, asked the city council in 2006 to sell the .76-acre site, but area residents objected.

After the San Diego City Council approved the sale, area residents sued the city regarding an environmental report, Richman said.

There are many issues, said resident Sue Moore. Residents objected to the development because of traffic and because there were peregrine falcons nesting in trees on the lot, but the city cut down the trees in 2005, Moore said.

Since then, Hillel officials performed new technical studies and conformed to factors such as parking, Richman said.

"My understanding is that all the technical studies were redone and they're all new," Stricker said. "One was the biological [study] and it addressed the raptors."

But during last week's meeting of La Jolla Traffic and Transportation Committee, the board decided not to hear Hillel's project; instead members took public comment. During the meeting, board members told Richman he must use proper channels for a new project, including attending the La Jolla Shores Association's monthly meeting.

Stricker said he hopes to clear up issues regarding litigation this week, after meeting with the city attorney. And Richman said he will represent Hillel during today's La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting.

"We've gone above and beyond," Richman said, explaining measures the organization took regarding the new project.

According to Stricker, the group added solar panels onto the new design, and decided to use parking lifts to accommodate 68 parking spaces.

"We're providing so much more parking than ordinary Hillels," Richman said. "And 40 trees "” we are including bike paths and a park that will be public."

Hillel will provide an information-only presentation at the LJCPA meeting today, July 3, 6 p.m. at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. For more information on Hillel, go to www.hillel.org. 
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