LJCPA, The La Jolla Association & La Jolla Town Council member
“No Harm No Foul” was the comment of La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) Trustee Michael Costello, at the LJCPA September 1st meeting. Moreover, this was the mind-set of each of the other LJCPA Trustees who sat disappointingly silent as their President, Tony Crisafi, declined to answer the question of the evening; “Why did you not file the appeal of 1912 Spindrift to the City of San Diego?” when asked by Trustee and former LJCPA president Joe La Cava and members of the audience.
On August 3rd a City of San Diego’s Hearing Officer approved the demolishing of a single story residence at 1912 Spindrift and the construction of a new two-story residence, of which Mr. Tony Crisafi is the project architect.
On August 4th the LJCPA Trustee’s discussed in detail whether or not to appeal the City of San Diego Hearing Officer’s decision. During this meeting Matt Peterson, the project’s attorney, raised the question to the LJCPA, “Why is this item on the agenda tonight?” LJCPA Vice President Rob Whittemore replied, “The City of San Diego Hearing Officer approved the project and so the issue tonight is whether or not the LJCPA should appeal that decision to the City of San Diego”. Trustees Fitzgerald and Manno agreed. Trustee Phil Merten, emphasized the key issue is to not allow parking in the front yard of the home designed by Mr. Crisafi. Trustees Bond, Costello, Gabsch, Little, Fitzgerald, Courtney, Weiss and LJCPA members Dale Naegle, Kathleen Neil and members of the public participated in the discussion supporting the appeal of Mr. Crisafi’s project to the City of San Diego.
Despite the 8 to 4 vote by the Trustees to appeal the City of San Diego Hearing Officer’s decision, Mr. Crisafi, failed to file the appeal as required by the by-laws of the LJCPA. By doing so, Mr. Crisafi’s client has an approved project. The project will not have to endure the expensive environmental review process caused by such LJCPA appeals; his actions will save his client months of review time and thousands of dollars.
Attorney Matt Peterson, however, did answer the question later in the evening. He told the LJCPA a “compromise agreement” has been reached to resolve the project’s parking issues. “We found a way to attach a garage, and we’re going to use a stacking lift system to satisfy the street-parking requirement,” The “compromised agreement” however was not reached at a noticed public meeting, nor was it placed on a LJCPA agenda as required by San Diego City Council Policy 600-24 and the Brown Act. Their “compromised agreement” was reached at a private meeting between Trustee Phil Merten, Mr. Crisafi and Mr. Peterson. None of the above mentioned LJCPA Trustees, LJCPA members or members of the public who had previously supported the appeal had any involvement in the discussion of their “compromised agreement”. It was only after Mr. Peterson’s disclosure that the remaining Trustees informally approved the prearranged “compromised agreement”, in the conspicuous absence of Trustee Phil Merten.
We now know why Mr. Crisafi did not appeal 1912 Spindrift or answer Mr. La Cava’s question. He and Mr. Peterson had already reached a “compromised agreement” with Trustee Merten. Deal Done!
“No Harm No Foul”……Mr. Costello? The credibility and trustworthiness of the LJCPA has been “Harmed” and every applicant that comes in front of the LJCPA has been “Fouled”. Mr. Crisafi’s and Mr. Merten’s dealings of conducting the people’s business behind close doors must stop. The question now is; “Will the LJCPA Trustees demand their immediate resignation or continue to ignore their blatant violations of San Diego Council Policy 600-24 and the Brown Act?
City of San Diego Response: Mary Wrignts October 12 2011 Letter to LJCPA
Related Topics: Tony Crisafi, Michael Costello, LJCPA Appeal, Phil Merten