Calling a neighborhood group’s lawsuit “evocative of Eastern Europe,” a superior court judge ruled in favor of the long-planned Hillel center for Jewish students across from UC San Diego.
Judge Timothy Taylor on Thursday denied the lawsuit by Taxpayers for Responsible Land Use challenging the San Diego City Council’s unanimous approval of the project a year ago. TRLU had argued that the center would adversely impact the neighborhood and that the City Council did not follow the law in its approval.
In response to TRLU’s contention that the center should be moved, Taylor said in court, “We don’t do that in the United States … That is evocative of Eastern Europe and not appropriate.”
The $15 million project appears set to proceed after 20 years of effort by supporters. Three buildings totaling 6,500 square feet are planned on a long-vacant triangular plot of land across La Jolla Village drive from the UC San Diego campus. Part of the land would be dedicated for public open space.
“This was a baseless lawsuit, and we are heartened that Judge Taylor confirmed Hillel’s lawful right to build,” said Joel Smith, board president of Hillel of San Diego. “We are especially delighted that our project will serve as a welcoming beacon of inclusivity at the entrance to La Jolla, a neighborhood that once forbade Jewish ownership.”
A center for Mormon students is already located in the university neighborhood, as is a Lutheran church that serves students.
Led by a $5 million pledge from Joseph “Chickie” Glickman, Hillel has already received over $12 million in contributions and pledges on its way to a $15 million fundraising goal. Smith said the organization will immediately move forward to make the project “shovel ready” for construction.
There are Hillel programs for Jewish students at UC San Diego, San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and the University of San Diego. A new Hillel center at SDSU opened in 2014.
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