After Hillel of San Diego purchased a parcel for a UCSD facility, the La Jolla Shores Association and a group of La Jolla residents sued the City of San Diego in June 2006. The San Diego City Council had voted 6-2 in May 2006 to sell Hillel the .76- acre site for $940,000. The sale was later upheld in court. The La Jolla Shores Association's president then was Sherri Lightner, before she became councilmember for District 1.
The Hillel UCSD Center for Jewish Life would encompass 6600 square feet, plus parking, in a park-like setting. Taxpayers for Responsible Land Use (TRLU), a registered lobbyist organization, also opposes the plan. The group cites traffic and parking concerns, community character, and improper land use (including being in a single-family residential zone). Their website states: “The proposed student center is six feet higher than any other structure in the adjacent residential community, and nearly three times the size.”
The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, at its January 24 meeting, will review the project specifics. Hillel is currently housed at 8976 Cliffridge Avenue, adjacent to the site. In an email, TRLU spokesman Oliver W. Jones said, “The La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance does not allow office uses in a single-family residential zone. Hillel has been in violation of this ordinance for approximately 10 years.”
Robert Lapidus, Hillel's facilities committee chair, emailed: “There is no active code enforcement action pending,” and the project “is supported by dozens of homeowners in the immediate neighborhood.” Lapidus is “optimistic we will have majority support as in three previous City Council actions.”
Steve B., a San Diego notary public familiar with the Hillel organization, said, “There are many non-Jewish denominational organizations like Hillel that meet off campus in similar buildings with no controversy. The real reason behind the 'smoke and fog' of zoning, aesthetics, and traffic/parking issues is an underlying anti-Semitic tone.”
The San Diego City Council is not close to a final decision. A court-ordered environmental impact report must be completed in 2012. And then there's the San Diego Planning Commission review. Lapidus said the environmental report “will help as it will definitively address all of the relevant issues.”