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"I think what has happened over the past couple of weeks is a travesty," said Joe LaCava, chair of La Jolla's community planning group, during the February 9 meeting of San Diego's planning commission.

LaCava appeared before the commission to request that they reopen hearings on the proposal by Bishop's School in La Jolla to build a new library and learning center on campus. The building, however, would exceed the 30-foot height limit for coastal properties by 2 feet.

The project has seen its ups and downs. In September, community planners denied the school's request. In October, a planning hearing officer approved it. Finally, on January 20, San Diego's planning commissioners voted three to two in favor of an appeal, denying the height variance.

However, at that January 20 meeting, two commissioners were absent and city bylaws require four votes for an action. Because there were not four votes, the commission's decision is meaningless.

"I'm here to pursue any remedy under the law to reconsider the action on January 20," LaCava said during public comment. "I don't know if you will agree with us or with the applicant, or, find a compromise. But, clearly the conversation is not done. You cannot stop this discussion based on an action outside of a public hearing. Had it been disclosed that you get one [chance] to get four votes then commissioners may have taken a different action."

Deputy city attorney Andrea Dixon responded to LaCava's plea. "The commission's rules require four votes to take action. The legal effect of a three-two vote is that the hearing officer's decision stands. This has always been the policy of the planning commission, and the item will not be docketed for an additional hearing."

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Comments

nostalgic Feb. 12, 2011 @ 7:39 a.m.

These height limit exceptions are popping up all over the place these days. It's only two feet, it's only four feet, it's only six feet, and so it goes and it's fine in San Diego.

Not much, unless you happen to live in the shadow. But of course, the commissioner's live somewhere else.

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Founder Feb. 12, 2011 @ 12:38 p.m.

This case represents both the confusion and frustration that SD Community Residents feel when their local Planning Boards decisions are ignored by City Staff! The missing members of the Planning Commission (that did not vote) are a loop hole that allows projects like this to be decided by City Staff in a politically correct manner, instead of by our appointed Planning Commissioners!...

The SD Planning oversight process is flawed and needs to be fixed before other decisions are "left" up to City Staff, instead of the Planning Commission; otherwise why have a Planning Commission!

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Visduh Feb. 22, 2011 @ 10:30 a.m.

Notice how a number of controversial buildings and developments involve the well-heeled, old-line private schools? Frances Parker has its run-ins, as does Our Lady of Peace. All of them are well connected to the power brokers in the local establishment. I have no axe to grind on these plans, but it does seem that the schools have decided that being a good neighbor is no longer anything that needs much attention, based on the opposition that keeps springing up.

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