special meeting is set for next week to discuss the war of words over language
in the La Jolla Community Plan update passed earlier this year by the Coastal
issue are 57 amendments to the plan update made by the state commission, calling
for more specific language detailing protection of open space, steep hillsides,
open space, view corridors and coastal bluffs.
meeting portends another skirmish pitting environmentalists and residents concerned
about growth vs. developers and homeowners concerned about the potential for curtailment
of their private property rights. It will be held Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
at the La Jolla Rec Center.
La Jolla Town Council has come out supporting the Coastal Commission's amendments.
A 100-plus member ad-hoc group of local residents called San Diegans for Sensible
Land Use, has formed to oppose the Coastal Commission's decision on the plan update.
Councilman Scott Peters who also holds a seat on the Coastal Commission
arranged for the special meeting, said Peters' policy adviser, Joe Ross.
had something that had been worked on for a very long time and everybody was happy
with it," said Ross. "And then it went to the Coastal Commission, and
they put on 57 amendments at the very last minute. What we need to do is have
a community meeting to look at what's here, what the City Council and the Coastal
Commission have approved and see if there are any discrepancies, so everybody
can be completely aware of what's in the plan.''
Sarb, district manager for the San Diego Office of the Coastal Commission, balks
at opponents' claims that the commission's amendments were done hastily.
La Jolla land-use plan has to be certified by the commission because La Jolla
is in the coastal zone," Sarb said. "The process the update goes through
is the city, then it comes through the commission, and if the commission wants
to make changes, they do it through suggested modifications. The idea was that
these suggested amendments needed to be made to the plan: That's part of the process.
It's what we felt needed to be in the plan to guide development."
said that the modifications should not be a surprise to anyone, since the commission
sent a letter to the city in July 2002 suggesting the changes. She added that
the regulations regarding steep hillside and shoreline development have been issues
for years in La Jolla.
Coastal Commission's 2002 letter to the city stated, "Hillside areas within
La Jolla should be afforded special protection. ... There should be a minimum
blufftop setback mentioned addressing protection of coastal bluffs ... policy
language that identifies the extent of improvements that can occur to existing
structures, which are non-conforming due to their blufftop setback, and establish
a threshold at which the entire structure must be brought into conformance."
amendments were made in the middle of the night," said Pallamary. "Only
thieves and burglars work in the middle of the night. It got everyone so angry
because the community was disenfranchised. The community plan was agreed upon
by the community after 12 years of planning. Proposing these amendments smacks
the face of all things democratic, all things right. It's an insult to the whole
Pallamary of San Diegans for Sensible Land Use said his broad-based group sees
the commission's modifications to La Jolla's Community Plan in the update as a
violation of the community's trust.
added his group has been pressing for discussion of the ramifications of the commission's
just want a public forum discussing these amendments," he said. "If
Peters wasn't going to have it, we were."
Diegans for Sensible Land Use was formed within weeks of the commission's decision.
The group now has 110 members and operates a Web site at www.sdslu.com.
Web site offers a complete list of members and a mission statement, which states
the group was formed "to respond to the growing concern that improper land-use
decisions and deprivation of private property rights by the California Coastal
Commission violates constitutionally protected rights. ..."
member of San Diegans for Sensible Land Use, attorney Matt Peterson, likens the
Coastal Commission plan amendments to a surgeon who tells the patient of a surgery's
consequences only after the procedure is finished.
think it's too little, too late," said Peterson. "I'm in favor of the
public process, but right now, the City Council can't accept some things and reject
some things after the fact."
said that the courts are going to interpret the modifications as written but,
he said, "many of these modifications are far reaching and very adverse to
private property rights."
said his group will give a presentation at the meeting of what they believe the
plan update modifications mean.
need be," he said, "we will litigate, if the City Council proceeds to
go ahead and adopt the modifications to the plan update despite the objections
of literally hundreds of property owners. Then, we will file a lawsuit and challenge
it in court."