La Jolla Shores Association City advisory group and Black Horse Homeowners Association, have both retained attorneys to represent them in ongoing negotiations between the university and La Jollans. Residents are arguing the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood project’s bulk and scale is excessive and will lead to unmitigated impacts on traffic and access that must be more fully addressed.
The project, proposed on a parking lot adjacent to La Jolla Playhouse, is designed to provide residential life and administrative space for a new undergraduate college, with approximately 2,000 undergraduate beds, classrooms, an estimated 1,200 underground parking spaces, and a conference and retail space.
The new development, consisting of three nine- to 11-story buildings located along the campus edge, and two taller 16- and 21-story buildings located in the interior of the site to the east, would have a conference on top of one of the buildings and a public market at ground level.
“Because of the current national health emergency the La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Shores Association, La Jolla Traffic & Transportation and La Jolla Town Council postponed the co-hosted April 2 LJCPA meeting,” said the four groups in a joint letter to the university. “We are hopeful that we can co-host this same event with the UCSD presentation of the project to the community at the May 7 LJCPA meeting.”
A second letter signed and sent by LJSA president Janie Emerson to the university recently concurs with the four-groups joint letter. But it goes one step further in asking essentially for a “timeout” on the project, to allow continuing negotiations between both sides.
“The LJSA wants to reach out to you while all of us are now under mandatory sequester in our homes,” said Emerson. “Obviously, current events have everything on hold … A suspension of this FCLLN Project timeline will allow LJSA, the Community and UCSD to continue safe and open discussions on this project, and how to move forward together. In addition, such a suspension is an indication of good faith to the community by UC San Diego.”
Answered university spokesperson Leslie Sepuka: “Everything UC San Diego does is motivated by its academic and research mission, with a specific focus on meeting the needs of our students. The university is under state mandates to increase enrollment, which has resulted in the campus adding more than 8,000 undergraduate students n the last eight years.
“This growth places a responsibility on the campus to provide appropriate infrastructure and facilities, with student housing being of significant importance. The primary driver of our current development plan is accommodating a student population that already exists.
“The university proposed a meeting on April 2 hosted by LJCPA which was postponed due to safety recommendations,” continued the university’s response. “The university is working toward presenting at a future meeting, with the date and format to be confirmed. [The project] will be considered for approval in a meeting with the UC Regents, with the date to be confirmed. During the pandemic, the university has continued to share information on the project through online channels and the media, and continues to receive feedback from the community online, via email and on the phone.”
Email [email protected] There is also a feedback page on PlanDesignBuild.ucsd.edu.
Some La Jolla residents and groups are insisting that continuing university “creep” into surrounding neighborhoods is causing traffic congestion imperiling public safety. A few, like LJSA’s Emerson, argue the university’s current plans for the development are out of step with the times.
“They shouldn’t be doing dinosaur thinking with these huge concrete buildings,” she said. “They should be doing something really cutting-edge, like having online classes taught by professors from all over the country and world. We need new thinking for the future. That’s how UC San Diego got started, by the Revelle’s doing something really different. Their (universities) mission is to teach and educate, not construct buildings housing people.”