At the very least, there’s a communication breakdown between the independent baker and Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC), the local advisory group making recommendations to the city on neighborhood issues.
“They absolutely refuse to stop doing production in their parking lot,” said BRCC president Joe Parker, who claims ongoing problems with Julian Bakery, located at 5621 La Jolla Blvd., continue to rile residents and merchants alike disrupting the surrounding neighborhood. “They’re pushing available parking out from behind their store, which is directly impacting neighbors on La Jolla Hermosa, who are not only complaining about parking, but about noise, trash and debris from the unsightly nature of their production.”
Parker said he continually gets emails and calls from businesses and residents near the bakery complaining that the expansion of its bread production into temporary quarters in the rear of the site is causing a range of problems — from trucks blocking the alleyway to health-related concerns over outdoor food handling, as well as the possibility of an increase in rodent activity because of the outside production. Parker added there’s also a question as to whether the fencing surrounding the bakery’s back lot has been done appropriately.
“We’re just conducting business as normal. I’m a little confused by this,” said Heath Squire of Julian Bakery, who noted the business has been operating at the same location in Bird Rock since 1990.
Squire said the bakery is getting truck deliveries, as it always has, during regular business hours.
“It’s business as usual,” he said. “Our deliveries only last a few minutes. We’ve been receiving the same deliveries — FedEx, boxes and bags of grain, stuff like that — regular deliveries we’ve been getting for four years.”
Squire said the bakery is working hard to ensure its operations are legitimate.
“We don’t have anything that’s out of code,” he said. “We’re working with the city of San Diego, submitting plans and so forth. They said they wanted [the parking lot] fenced. So that’s what we did.”
Julian Bakery began in the community for which it is named in the mountains of East County, later expanding into Bird Rock. Its bread products retail locally, as well as being wholesaled to health-food stores, major grocery chains and directly online nationwide to consumers.
According to the company’s website, Julian Bakery’s standard is to “select wholesome, chemical-free grains, seeds and nuts stone-ground with a slow culturing process to provide full amino acids and complex carbohydrates.”
“It is the same concept as fresh ground coffee,” nutritionist and proprietor Barbara Squire states on the website. “All our main grains are organically grown, free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.”
One of many problems the community has with Julian Bakery, contends BRCC’s Parker, is that whenever one issue seems to get resolved, another springs up to take its place.
A case in point, he said, were permanent access structures in Julian’s parking lot, which the bakery removed after community complaints to the city.
“The same problem reappeared — just in a different form,” Parker said. “Instead of permanent structures, they put up tents and continued their production activities.”
The operations of any Bird Rock business that displaces parking reflects badly on the majority of merchants who comply with their parking agreements, Parker said. And that parking, he continued, is at a premium.
As soon as a space on La Jolla Boulevard opens up, he said, “It’s immediately occupied, which tells me the parking shortage is real and on the rise.”
San Diego’s code compliance department could not be reached for comment.
For more information, visit www.-birdrock.org or read the community’s monthly newsletter that is widely distributed.