Work begins on the outdoor dining area of ​​the Paradisaea restaurant in the ‘Piano Building’, but the councilor is not satisfied

Work has begun on the outdoor dining area of ​​the planned Paradisaea restaurant at Bird Rock, with some saying there has been insufficient communication about it.

The restaurant is slated to open next month at 5680 La Jolla Blvd. to what is commonly known as the “Piano Building” because it once housed a piano company. Paradisaea has been the subject of several reviews by the Bird Rock Community Council over the past year, with some council members grappling with planned encroachment on the right of way maintained by the Maintenance Assessment District by Bird Rock.

Ultimately, the DCCB voted in April to support the outdoor dining component.

Through MAD, homeowners pay an assessment for maintenance of public spaces in Bird Rock beyond what the city of San Diego can provide, including landscaping.

To accommodate outdoor dining, a portion of the concrete sidewalk along La Jolla Boulevard is removed and replaced with landscaping and planters. An area that currently has vegetation and is maintained by MAD is being removed and replaced with hardscape.

A rendering presented to the Bird Rock Community Council at a special meeting on April 26 shows the planned outdoor dining at Paradisaea.

(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

This work started and some community members were taken by surprise.

One of them is Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla. He lives in Bird Rock, and long before he was a city council member, he was part of a group that won MAD endorsement in 2005.

On August 5, he posted a video on social media in which he said he was “really not happy with this little surprise that showed up,” referring to the landscaping being removed and planks placed on the ground.

“I feel a very personal connection to MAD in terms of landscaping,” LaCava later told the La Jolla Light. “The landscaping intercepts storm water, is part of the traffic calming and is visually pleasing. Now the landscaping is gone and there are wooden planks there. But in doing so, they exposed parts of the city’s irrigation system, which is another area of ​​concern.

Owner Eric Kleinbub, a local resident, said “permits are complete for sidewalk work.” He did not comment further.

During the BRCC hearings, Kleinbub called Paradisaea a “passionate project” and said “I want Bird Rock to be amazing, and we see this as something that will. … It’s going to be the heart and soul of the neighborhood.

Supporters of the restaurant applauded Kleinbub and his wife, Zoe, for preserving the William Kesling-designed building and said alfresco dining would add “vibrance” to the neighborhood.

But LaCava said he was discouraged the Kleinbubs hadn’t applied for a “Spaces as Places” permit, which he said “would be the first step if their interest was to expand.” The city’s Spaces as Places program, which the council approved in October, establishes a process and regulations for outdoor dining areas that encroach on public spaces. The city began accepting permit applications for spaces as places in January, but that cannot take effect in coastal areas such as La Jolla until it is reviewed and certified by the California Coastal. Commission.

“My concern is that the process is not being followed and there is no discussion with the community,” LaCava said. “Another concern is making sure it doesn’t happen again.”

This is the second time something like this has happened in District 1, LaCava said. In Torrey Hills, a developer working on a property completed MAD-managed landscaping, including a mature tree. “The community was taken by surprise,” LaCava said. “The same is happening here. The community and council office need to be informed before something like this happens. You have to respect the process. »

Opponents of Paradisaea’s alfresco dining argued that it would create obstacles blocking the view of pedestrians in a nearby crosswalk and that handing over the area maintained by MAD to a private company would set a precedent that others restaurants would like to follow. Others have suggested that those who contribute to MAD should have a vote on whether to hand over the property.

In addition to the restaurant, the property will feature Dodo Bird Donuts, an all-day cafe, and Tropical Punch, a collection of home, beauty and fashion items from around the world. ◆

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