This is the result of more than 20 years of concessions and debate between the UC San Diego-affiliated Hillel Society, residents and the special-interest group, Taxpayers for Responsible Land Use (TRLU).
Construction dates are yet to be determined at the 0.8-acre parcel, located at a cross-intersection of La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla Scenic Way and La Jolla Scenic Drive North.
This past April 29, the City of San Diego Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Hillel Center. Although this vote was seen as a major step forward for the Hillel Society, to be finalized it would ultimately have to go before the City Council.
In 2002, the Hillel Society first began exclusive negotiations with the City of San Diego to purchase the proposed Hillel Student Center land. They were able to eventually purchase the lot in 2006, with the city fully aware of their intentions to build a university-affiliated Jewish student center.
Several of the proposed Hillel Student Center plans saw disapproval from some residents, beginning with their initial proposal in 2005. At this time, they had proposed a 12,100-square-foot structure, with 68 on-site parking spaces.
In 2010, a second proposal was brought forth, of which the sheer size of the center was downgraded to 7,084-square-feet, with 27 on-site parking spaces. This proposal was also shut down abjectly by both the interest group, Taxpayers for Responsible Land Use (TRLU) and the La Jolla Shores Association.
“This would be like putting a YMCA, or another building with a religious purpose,” said an attorney for TRLU, Julie Hamilton, this past May. “Since it is a student center, the comings-and-goings all day long, with the building’s capacity for 140-200 people is extremely impactful to the area. There are many people that live in the neighborhood that either work for, or have worked for, the university, but this is just too close to single-family residences.”
Outcome, moving forward
“We are extremely excited that not only did council unanimously vote to support our efforts but commended us for our continued efforts in incorporating feedback from the community,” said Rabbi David Singer, executive director of UC San Diego Hillel.
Though the Glickmans have donated $5 million for the future construction of the student center that will bear their name, more capital must be raised to ensure the advancement of its construction.
“Our next step is to launch a capital campaign, in which we are looking to raise an additional $6.5 million in the months to come,” said Singer. “We want to assure everyone that we meant what we said all along, that we want to ‘remain open to dialogue and work together collaboratively’ to address any of our students or neighbors’ needs.”
Singer added that UC San Diego’s Hillel Society does not anticipate any foreseeable delays in moving forward with the project.