The City of San Diego Planning Commission today voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Beverly & Joseph Glickman Hillel Center, a proposed new religious facility across the street from the UC San Diego campus. Proposed by Hillel San Diego, a religious institution that supports Jewish college students, the Glickman Center will provide a new permanent home for UC San Diego students to participate in religious programming for Jewish holidays and festivals, programs relating to Israel as the Jewish homeland, Jewish community building, and community service opportunities.
“This is a very important day for us,” said Robert Lapidus, longtime Chair of the Hillel Facilities Committee. “We have been working for nearly two decades on this project, and the Planning Commission’s vote brings us one step closer to making the Glickman Hillel Center a reality.”
Located on a vacant 0.8-acre parcel bounded by La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla Scenic Way and La Jolla Scenic Drive North, the facility will be located directly across the street from UC San Diego, near The J. Craig Venter Institute for genomic research, and adjacent to a residential neighborhood.
Hillel has been working with the city and the community since 2000 to develop this project. Significant changes were made in 2009 to address comments received about the project ̶ the size of the facility was reduced by nearly half, and the design changed from a single, large building to three smaller buildings that are similar in size or smaller than nearby homes. Religious facilities are allowed by right on the property, and the proposal is consistent with the La Jolla Community Plan, a point emphasized at the hearing.
“You have before you a project that is consistent with the community plan, consistent with the La Jolla Shores PDO, will result in zero significant environmental impacts and will offer immense tangible benefits to both the students we serve and the broader neighborhood and community,” said Rabbi David Singer, Director of UC San Diego Hillel.
The new LEED-certified project would total approximately 6,500 square feet and would provide space for religious programs in three separate, one- and two-story buildings around a central outdoor courtyard. The plans include 27 surface parking spaces, bicycle storage, and a small publicly accessible, park-like area with a bicycle and pedestrian path, bench, and water fountain. A thorough environmental review for the facility was conducted and it concluded that there will be no significant environmental impacts that will result from its development.
“The Glickman Hillel Center will be a big improvement over the vacant lot that sits there today,” said Steve Weitzen, a resident who lives near the proposed new facility. “It will beautify the area, provide a buffer between the neighborhood and the busy La Jolla Village Drive/Torrey Pines Road intersection, and will be an attractive gateway to the La Jolla community.”
One year ago, at age 101, La Jolla resident and philanthropist Joseph “Chickie” Glickman donated the lead $5 million gift for the Beverly & Joseph Glickman Hillel Center to provide students at UC San Diego with a permanent Jewish home near campus.
“This is a marvelous contribution to the community,” said Sue Peerson, Vice Chairperson of the Planning Commission.
The project now advances to the San Diego City Council for a final vote of approval. The Council hearing is anticipated to be later this spring.