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2022 Year in Review: Top news stories in La Jolla

Jun 11, 2023Jun 11, 2023

Locals’ eyes were on some of La Jolla’s most treasured spaces this year — from outdoor areas like Point La Jolla to homes in the Muirlands neighborhood. Residents got involved in the care of medians in the area known as “The Throat”; followed developments as the city of San Diego applied for a seasonal closure of Point La Jolla to separate humans and sea lions; rallied to support the Pannikin coffeehouse as it faced closure and was reborn as a new cafe; sought solutions to address the proliferation of sidewalk vendors in local parks; worked with the San Diego Police Department to try to stop a South American burglary ring plaguing Muirlands and elsewhere; and more.

Here’s a month-by-month look at La Jolla’s major news stories in 2022.

Point La Jolla plans: San Diego representatives announce that plans for an annual public closure of Point La Jolla during pupping season for the area’s sea lions will mirror the emergency closure from the previous summer. However, details would not be finalized for months.

“Sexy Street”?: As part of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s “Sexy Streets” initiative, the city announces that La Jolla Parkway — the main thoroughfare linking major freeways to The Village and La Jolla Shores — will be resurfaced. In September, the city says the work will begin in the fall.

Vanlifers: Residents and divers who frequent La Jolla Shores express concern about “vanlifers” who park their camper vans along Vallecitos next to Kellogg Park. Divers say it’s a challenge for them to have to park blocks away because of a lack of available spaces and walk to the ocean with heavy gear. Other residents also share worries about whether beach access is being limited by the vans.

Business break-ins: Retailers in The Village experience a rash of break-ins, with at least four at the Bang & Olufsen home electronics store on Girard Avenue. Around the same time, Village employees who park their cars in area garages report vehicle break-ins and thefts.

American Pizza Manufacturing lawsuit: After being sued by him the year before, management of American Pizza Manufacturing at 7402 La Jolla Blvd. files a countersuit against La Jolla resident Ajay Thakore — who also goes by the name Ace Rogers — alleging harassment.

Crime ring: San Diego Police Department representatives and local leaders say a string of recent burglaries in La Jolla are part of an organized crime ring from South America. Officers say there were 56 residential burglaries in La Jolla in the previous six months, 18 of them believed to be connected to the crime ring.

Scripps Park Pavilion: The long-awaited Scripps Park Pavilion restroom facility quietly opens Jan. 21. But problems quickly emerge, including reports of the inside of changing rooms being visible from the outside at certain angles, plus exposed pipes, undersize trash bins and overflow issues.

Crime ring slows: Police efforts to slow the burglary ring targeting La Jolla houses appears to be working, with no burglaries matching the methods of the South American ring reported in the past several weeks. In January and February, police deploy plainclothes officers and appoint a detective to follow leads as part of a task force.

Seiche is sold: The historic La Jolla home — called Seiche — of famed late oceanographer Walter Munk sells for $6.25 million. Munk had donated the property, at 9530 La Jolla Shores Drive, to UC San Diego, which put it on the market in December for $5.5 million.

Streetscape support: The La Jolla Community Planning Association lends its support to a streetscape plan generated by Enhance La Jolla. The plan is a four-phase, $15 million project to renovate Girard Avenue between Silverado and Prospect streets and the area known as “The Dip” at Prospect. Planned street improvements include curb extensions, paving, landscaping, lighting, conversion of northbound Prospect to a public pedestrian way between Girard and Herschel avenues and converting the southbound side of Prospect in that area to two-way traffic.

Sidewalk vending law: The San Diego City Council approves a new ordinance to regulate street vending. Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, says the rules are to La Jolla’s advantage but calls the new ordinance “sophisticated and complicated.” However, at the time, the law cannot go into effect in La Jolla and other coastal communities until the California Coastal Commission approves it.

New guardrail: The San Diego City Council accepts a $718,700 grant from the California Department of Transportation to design and build a new guardrail along a portion of Torrey Pines Road.

Point La Jolla application: After months of discussion and debate, the city of San Diego officially applies for a closure of Point La Jolla during sea lion pupping season. It would be effective from May 25 to Sept. 15 annually.

Mask opposition rally: A small protest at La Jolla Elementary School is staged, with some parents encouraging their children to unmask and refuse to comply with the San Diego Unified School District’s indoor masking policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. At least three students are known to have participated, but school officials are unable to provide a total number.

Mask support rally: Students and parents at Torrey Pines Elementary School demonstrate over two days in front of the school in support of the school district’s COVID-19 safety protocols. An estimated 30 people attend the first demonstration and 60 the second.

Tennis Club manager search: The La Jolla Tennis Club announces it is searching for a new manager, its third in a year. The board of directors’ decision to contract with an outside firm to find the new manager draws mixed reactions from club members. Some are stunned by the $20,000 expenditure and criticize the board, saying it did not consult members before authorizing it. Others support the board’s effort.

Roadblocks to Repair: The La Jolla Light launches its six-part “Roadblocks to Repair” series looking at the condition of La Jolla’s streets and the challenges in getting them repaired.

Pedestrian death: A 70-year-old man dies after being hit by a car while crossing Torrey Pines Road. The pedestrian was in the crosswalk when a car traveling east struck him. Neither alcohol nor drugs are considered a factor in the case.

Burglary reported: Two weeks after saying there had been no recent burglaries in La Jolla tied to a South American crime ring, the San Diego Police Department reports another break-in matching the methods of previous ones, bringing the total to 19.

Pannikin to pack it in: After decades on Girard Avenue, the Pannikin coffeehouse in La Jolla receives 30 days’ notice of lease termination and announces its last day in operation will be April 9. However, management says it wants to move somewhere else in La Jolla.

Bishop’s School development: The Bishop’s School applies to expand by integrating an adjacent property it owns onto the campus. The property, just south of the school’s driveway entrance facing Draper Avenue, currently has a house and a duplex on it.

Red Rest restoration: An application is filed to renovate La Jolla’s historic Red Roost and Red Rest cottages and build a condominium complex near them. The Red Rest was destroyed in a fire in October 2020 and Red Roost was badly damaged. The new development would involve reconstructing the cottages to historical accuracy.

Point La Jolla closure order: The California Coastal Commission votes for San Diego to close Point La Jolla and most of the adjacent Boomer Beach to the public from May 1 to Oct. 31 each year to keep humans away during sea lion pupping season. The seasonal closure permit is to be in effect for seven years.

Gazebo go-ahead: A plan to build a belvedere (also known as a gazebo) at Windansea Beach advances a step closer when a San Diego hearing officer rules in favor of the project. The plan calls for a public-private project along the west side of Neptune Place between Westbourne Street and Palomar Avenue. Work would include construction of the belvedere shade structure on Neptune near Rosemont Street, along with continuation of post-and-chain barriers. The whole project is to be funded by Friends of Windansea.

Paradisaea approval: After multiple hearings over the previous year, plans to convert the “Piano Building” in Bird Rock into a restaurant called Paradisaea gets the approval of the Bird Rock Community Council. The board had struggled in the past with whether to support planned encroachment into the public right of way to accommodate outdoor dining. Other local planning boards struggled with the fact that the restaurant did not go to them for approval early in the process.

“Throat” issues: Residents complain about untended medians at the intersection of La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road and Hidden Valley Road — known as “The Throat” — with some calling the perceived lack of maintenance “horrible.” Aztec Landscaping, based in Lemon Grove, has a $41,000 annual contract with the city to maintain several medians at The Throat. The maintenance is paid for by gas taxes, but some question whether the work is being done.

Trip-and-fall suit: A lawsuit is filed against the city of San Diego that states in January 2020, a resident was walking on the sidewalk on Pearl Street in La Jolla when she tripped in an empty tree well, fell and hit her face on the sidewalk. The suit contends the city had removed the tree but did not fill or otherwise fix the hole left behind and failed to ensure the sidewalk was safe to use. Enhance La Jolla is brought into the mix, given its effort to fill empty tree wells with river rock.

Pannikin closes: La Jolla’s Pannikin Coffee & Tea closes April 30. Co-owner Amanda Morrow says she will soon open a new establishment under a new name about a block away at 7530 Fay Ave., the former site of Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

Care for “The Throat”: Amid ongoing concerns about the maintenance of the intersection of La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road and Hidden Valley Road — “The Throat” — the city of San Diego agrees to take steps to make sure the medians there are cared for. The contractor for maintenance is asked to submit detailed reports of what is done during its twice-a-month visits, and the city commits to conducting quarterly assessments of the contractor’s performance.

Teachers of the Year: After two years of quiet, socially distanced recognition, the five San Diego Unified School District campuses in La Jolla honor their Teachers of the Year at a dinner. They are Nicole Ervin-Fugiel from Muirlands Middle School, Jim Essex from La Jolla High School, Melissa King from Bird Rock Elementary School, Courtney Sakai from La Jolla Elementary and Jamie White from Torrey Pines Elementary.

Welcome to La Jolla: A concept for a “Welcome to La Jolla” sign gets unanimous support from the La Jolla Shores Association board. The sign, intended for the triangular median at the intersection of La Jolla Shores Drive and Torrey Pines Road, would feature “Welcome to La Jolla California” on a green screen with the Rotary emblem in the lower left corner. The sign would be fronted by bougainvillea plants, flanked by blooming trees and illuminated at night.

Directional signs: The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board and La Jolla Village Merchants Association agree to jointly apply for grants from San Diego County to help pay for planned directional signs in The Village. The hope is to have different community groups apply and pool the money to pay for a directional, or wayfinding, sign program that has been explored the past few years.

School anniversary: Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla celebrates its 70th anniversary with an open house party. The event includes dancing, classroom tours, information tables from community groups and a scavenger hunt.

Recreation Center renovation: The La Jolla Community Planning Association lends its support to a “more significant phase of design” for the planned La Jolla Recreation Center renovation, a step forward for a project that has been in the conceptual phase for years. Plans include renovating the main building at 615 Prospect St., creating a rooftop deck, opening the south side of the property to create what local architect Trace Wilson calls “the La Jolla pavilion,” adding a coastline-themed playground along Draper Avenue, pushing the basketball courts closer to the tennis courts at the next-door La Jolla Tennis Club, creating a mural wall, rebuilding a historical trellis to provide shade, creating a splash pad similar to the wading pool that was once on the grounds, renovating the front lawn, adding new courts for various sports and more.

Montessori School closes: Montessori School of La Jolla closes June 9 following the expiration of its lease at 6540 Soledad Mountain Road, ending decades of serving little learners and their families. The adjacent San Diego French American School, at 6550 Soledad Mountain Road, manages the property and says it plans to expand into the space.

Point La Jolla problems: Despite the presence of a ranger at Scripps Park during the day, some local volunteers who patrol Point La Jolla report an emerging problem of illegal activity in the area after dark. During the continuing public closure during sea lion pupping season, volunteers report drinking, smoking, violation of the closure and more.

Reservoir rework: Decade-old plans for a controversial project to build a new 3.1-million-gallon underground reservoir in La Jolla Heights Natural Park to replace two existing water storage tanks take a turn, with the city of San Diego looking to reduce the size of the replacement. Also, it would be built in the same location as the current La Jolla View Reservoir tank rather than somewhere else in the park.

Scooter rider killed: A 90-year-old man riding a seated motorized scooter is hit and killed by a car in the 6600 block of La Jolla Boulevard near Rosemont Street. The driver of the car, an 80-year-old woman, was traveling north on La Jolla Boulevard when the crash happened.

Principal departs: Torrey Pines Elementary School Principal Nona Richard leaves her position amid accusations from some parents of harassment, intimidation, discrimination and failing to address student bullying. But some parents rally on her behalf, saying she “brought a wonderful mix of passion for the students, energy and administrative savviness to the job.”

Vanlifers move: For one reason or another, the “vanlifers” who descended on La Jolla Shores earlier in the year, irritating divers and residents, seem to have moved on to other areas of La Jolla, specifically Windansea Beach. A member of the Preserve Windansea Beach Association says there are “camper vans at Windansea parking almost every day and on feeder streets ... especially on Nautilus,” and that debris has been left on the beach.

Belvedere appeal denied: The San Diego Planning Commission unanimously denies an appeal by the Preserve Windansea Beach Association aimed at preventing construction of a belvedere (aka gazebo) at Windansea Beach.

Tennis Club manager: Mike Van Zutphen is named new manager and director of tennis at the La Jolla Tennis Club during a tumultuous time for the organization, with continued anger from some members over the club’s dismissal of certain tennis professionals more than a year earlier and other conduct those members found questionable. The city of San Diego conducted an investigation into Tennis Club activities, but its report determined that no city action was required.

Camino de la Costa stairs: Some $2 million from the state’s $308 billion budget is allocated to repair a crumbling staircase that leads to the ocean from Camino de la Costa in La Jolla’s Lower Hermosa neighborhood. The staircase has been falling apart for years, to the point that the concrete is crumbling and the rebar is rusted.

Spindrift access plan expanded: A project to add a handrail to an often-slippery beach access next to The Marine Room restaurant in La Jolla Shores is expanded to include reconstruction of the stairs leading to the beach. The proposal makes the rounds to La Jolla planning groups and the city of San Diego for review.

Welcome sign gets OK: Despite concerns about maintenance and insufficient representation from area service groups, the La Jolla Community Planning Association narrowly votes to support the proposed “Welcome to La Jolla” sign at La Jolla Shores Drive and Torrey Pines Road. The Rotary emblem would be included because the intent is for funding to come from local and regional Rotary clubs, but some questioned whether other service groups could be included.

Children’s Pool plans: In hopes of extending the life of La Jolla’s Children’s Pool as it nears its centennial, a La Jolla-based engineering firm that has been studying the local landmark with funding from the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board announces that repairs to the seawall alone would cost $2.3 million, not including repairs to the stairs or surrounding retaining walls.

Casa de Mañana march: About 60 residents of La Jolla’s Casa de Mañana retirement community march in support of reproductive rights and to demonstrate their opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion.

Via Capri care: After a lengthy study of the need for traffic calming along La Jolla’s Via Capri, the city of San Diego looks to implement some recommendations, including narrowing the street lanes and replacing a solar-powered sign.

Warwick’s 2.0: Escrow closes on the purchase of the Chase Bank property on Girard Avenue in La Jolla by a group of local investors, many of whom also bought the Warwick’s bookstore building in 2021 to preserve that Girard Avenue store. Chase has a lease on the bank property at 7777 Girard through November 2023, so the team will work until then to develop plans on whether to renovate the building or demolish it and rebuild, and how it should be used.

Cameras considered for Point La Jolla: With the San Diego City Council voting to approve a surveillance ordinance, attention is turned to installation of camera equipment at city parks, including La Jolla’s Scripps Park and Point La Jolla. The surveillance equipment is intended to help the city meet the terms of a coastal development permit granted by the California Coastal Commission for the annual closure of Point La Jolla during sea lion pupping season.

Hillel walkway: A pedestrian walkway from the northwest (cul-de-sac) end of La Jolla Scenic Drive North to the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive reopens after the original pedestrian walkway was closed in June for the construction of the Beverly and Joseph Glickman Hillel Center. The walkway is considered the most expedient way for people in that area to get to UC San Diego on foot.

Discomfort stations: La Jolla Shores residents express frustration and embarrassment by what they see as a lapse in the city of San Diego’s maintenance and repair of Kellogg Park. Residents say the “comfort stations,” or restroom facilities, are in serious need of regular cleaning, the showers aren’t functioning properly and the amount of maintenance needed puts an undue burden on the limited staff the city assigns to the park.

More “Throat” irritation: The medians at La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road and Hidden Valley Road — “The Throat” — continue to lack regular maintenance, according to La Jolla community leaders, who also say they haven’t seen promised reports from the city of San Diego or its contractor for the maintenance. Meanwhile, a city review says the contractor, Aztec Landscaping, met performance standards during the second quarter of the year in seven of 11 categories.

Power cable repair: After a series of power outages in La Jolla’s Country Club area in recent months — some lasting up to 19 hours — San Diego Gas & Electric replaces a 68-foot cable that helps deliver power to more than 160 homes.

Surf war: A male surfer and others in the water at Windansea get into an argument that leads to punches and the surfer being held underwater for “what he estimated was about 30 seconds,” according to San Diego police. The altercation launches an investigation and increased patrols in the area.

Soledad groundbreaking: The Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla breaks ground on Phase III of an expansion project that would add extensions to five existing walls, allowing for 2,000 additional plaques. The memorial, at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South, honors those living and deceased from the American Revolution to the current war on terrorism and contains their stories, pictures and accomplishments on the plaques.

Sidewalk vending agreement: San Diego officials say an agreement has been reached to allow enforcement of new city vending regulations in the coastal zone, including La Jolla, without a hearing by the California Coastal Commission. However, it still needs two votes by the San Diego City Council to set an effective date.

Shark sighting: A shark advisory is posted at Torrey Pines State Beach after a 10- to 12-foot shark is seen 100 yards from shore near some divers, causing some residents to worry that the notorious sea predators could make their way to more crowded areas of the La Jolla coast.

New principal: With the start of the school year Aug. 29, Torrey Pines Elementary School welcomes new Principal Keith Keiper. The father of three comes to Torrey Pines from the San Bernardino City Unified School District. He is in his 25th year in education, 13 of them as a teacher.

Ex-Jack in the Box rental plans stall: Plans to rent out the La Jolla property that formerly housed a Jack in the Box fast-food restaurant stall when a potential tenant falls through, prompting The Bishop’s School — which bought the Pearl Street site nearly a year earlier — to start over in its search.

Muirlands outages: San Diego Gas & Electric says the culprit of a series of power outages in the Muirlands neighborhood of La Jolla over Labor Day weekend Sept. 3-5 — including one that lasted more than a day — was an “overload condition” caused by “higher-than-expected energy demand” on the circuit that supplies electricity to the area. While working to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem on the circuit known as La Jolla 3 and find a permanent fix, a portable generator is installed to get power to customers.

La Jolla High School centennial: To mark La Jolla High School’s 100th anniversary, the La Jolla Light launches a four-part series that looks at the history of the campus, offers reflections from alumni across the decades, generations of families who went there and more.

Projects wish list: Looking to present a united front, the La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Shores Association, Bird Rock Community Council and La Jolla Parks & Beaches group come together to produce a new list of capital improvement projects they would like the city of San Diego to implement in the coming year. Topping the list is widening and rebuilding the sidewalk in Scripps Park adjacent to Coast Boulevard.

Flower Pot Cafe: The owners of La Jolla’s former Pannikin coffeehouse open Flower Pot Cafe and Bakery at 7530 Fay Ave. The hours and types of meals are expanded from what Pannikin offered, with Flower Pot serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Heroic effort”: For his rescue of an 11-year-old boy at Windansea Beach, La Jolla High School water polo player Kiefer Black is recognized by local lifeguards during the Senior Night water polo game. San Diego lifeguard Chief James Gartland said the rescue was “no easy task” and involved a “heroic effort.”

Picnic grove: A project to renovate an area of Scripps Park and create a “picnic grove” starts construction. The project, which was started in March 2021, involves relocating tables, improving access for people with disabilities, replacing a dying tree and layering the ground cover with a paving material called GraniteCrete.

Second suit: For the second time this year, Enhance La Jolla is brought into a trip-and-fall lawsuit in which the organization feels it has no place. This time, the city of San Diego is being sued for an undisclosed amount after a person walking along Silverado Street in The Village tripped on raised decorative pavers. The city argues that Enhance La Jolla should have identified and “barricaded” the hazard with caution tape and/or cones and notified the city and therefore has responsibility.

Nobel Prize: K. Barry Sharpless of La Jolla’s Scripps Research wins a second Nobel Prize in chemistry, this time for helping create a swift, Lego-like method for building molecules that is revolutionizing the development of pharmaceutical drugs.

Orchids & Onions: La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail wins an Orchid award for landscape architecture at the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Orchids & Onions awards ceremony. The orchids represent the best of San Diego architecture, onions the worst.

Street closure guidelines: An effort by the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board to draft “four easygoing recommendations for special events that require street closures” gets the approval of its parent organization, the La Jolla Community Planning Association. Among them are to limit the duration and dates for street closures and ask applicants to open streets as the event proceeds and to work with T&T ahead of time.

Stella Maris attack: A suspect is arrested after an attack on the Rev. Pat Mulcahy, pastor of La Jolla’s Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, outside the church’s school, Stella Maris Academy at 7654 Herschel Ave. The man reportedly was asked to leave the Stella Maris parking lot “and he responded to that by attacking [Mulcahy] with a box cutter and a half pair of scissors,” cutting Mulcahy’s hand, police said.

Drain repair: Work begins to repair the shower drain at Kellogg Park’s north “comfort station.” The project comes after years of concern as the drain allowed shower water to run across the sidewalk toward the beach, mixing with sand to create a wet, messy hazard. A redesign will move the drain a few feet toward the ocean.

Coast Boulevard development: Plans are introduced (and later win support from the La Jolla Community Planning Association) to redevelop a site on Coast Boulevard South that contains historically designated cottages. The project would demolish five structures at 813-821 Coast Blvd. South; remodel and add to a non-historic property at 811 Coast Blvd. South; remodel and add to the historic Harriet Cottage at 825 Coast Blvd. South; relocate, remodel and add to the historic Dorothy Cottage at 827 Coast Blvd. South; and build six new three-story townhouses over an underground garage.

Mending fences: Some people who frequent Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove express worry about the condition of the wooden fencing that separates the walkway from the bluffs there and goes down toward the Children’s Pool, calling its condition “horrible” and “neglected.” The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group forms a task force to evaluate the fencing and how it can assist in its repair.

Bird Rock flood: A water main that broke in the Bird Rock area sends water gushing onto the street, leaving some people under a notice to boil water. The break, in the 5300 block of La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, was caused by “corrosion to an old pipe,” according to a San Diego city spokesman.

Hillside regrading delayed: The city of San Diego announces that a project to regrade the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and Hillside Drive in La Jolla to try to prevent trucks from becoming stuck on the Hillside incline has been postponed a second time and is now scheduled for the spring.

No Room to Rest: The La Jolla Light launches its seven-part “No Room to Rest” series looking at homelessness in La Jolla, the complicated factors that contribute to it and the various viewpoints and potential solutions.

Long-term plan: The city of San Diego submits a preliminary long-term management plan for the annual seasonal closure of Point La Jolla to the California Coastal Commission. Though the recommended dates, location and methods are the same as during this year’s closure May 1 through Oct. 31, the plan also calls for data to be collected to measure the action’s long-term efficacy.

School board election: La Jolla resident Cody Petterson is elected to the San Diego Unified School District board as the representative of District C, which includes La Jolla.

Code talkers: In an early celebration of Veterans Day, the Mount Soledad Memorial Association presents a ceremony at the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla to honor the legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, who used Navajo language, unknown by the enemy, as a military code.

Red Roost and Red Rest plans: Some two years after a fire destroyed La Jolla’s historic Red Rest cottage and damaged the adjacent Red Roost, the city of San Diego says is it anticipating receiving plans that could allow a renovation to proceed. With the plan submittal, “the review can be completed and the application considered [next year] by the respective appointing authorities, including the Planning Commission, Historical Resources Board and the California Coastal Commission,” according to a city spokesman.

Cheerleading coach allegations: Details emerge of complaints alleging abusive treatment and retaliation by the now-dismissed coaches of the La Jolla High School cheer team. One parent alleged her daughter was “horrifically and habitually emotionally and verbally abused by her cheer coaches Elsie Lopez and [Elsie’s mother] Delia Lopez.” However, another parent said she was concerned about the coaches’ dismissal and that she never had problems with them in the three years she served as team mom. School administrators said the coaches were removed “to take the cheer program in a different direction.”

Herschel Avenue development: The La Jolla Community Planning Association lends its support to a development planned for 7945 Herschel Ave. that would consist of 12 apartments with a roof deck above a ground-floor residential/lobby area with retail, plus a 33,535-square-foot basement parking garage. The site currently is a parking lot for the La Valencia Hotel.

UCSD professor resigns after investigation: UC San Diego professor Xiang-Dong Fu alleges he was forced out of his position after 30 years with the university after being investigated in connection with possible policy violations over his relationships with Chinese universities. During an investigation that began in 2019, Fu was determined to be in violation of UCSD’s “conflict of commitment” policy, which outlines limitations on foreign collaboration. Fu resigned effective Dec. 5, though he maintains he has never acted inappropriately or illegally. His attorney raised allegations of discrimination and racial profiling.

Hermosa Park repaired: Crews from the city of San Diego complete repairs to the storm drain at La Jolla Hermosa Park in Bird Rock so it flows properly and the park can be entirely reopened to users. The project follows years of limited access due to flooding and erosion.

Spaces as Places: After a year of waiting, the California Coastal Commission approves the city of San Diego’s “Spaces as Places” program for implementation in the coastal zone, which includes La Jolla. The program establishes regulations for eating and drinking areas placed on parking spaces on city streets and other outdoor public places and provides a process for existing temporary operations to transition to permanent. The commission, however, requires restaurants close to the beach to replace any parking spaces they occupy on public streets. The “beach impact area” where that regulation applies begins at the north end of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla and runs about 15 miles south to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Point Loma. For most areas of the zone, the boundary extends inland approximately a quarter-mile.

— Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon ◆