Community Planning Association OKs La Jolla Farms rebuild
By Pat Sherman
The La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) lent its support to the planned demolition and rebuild of a home on La Jolla Farms Road during its May 3 meeting.
The rebuild, situated on 1.7 acres, would be more than double the size of the current structure — an increase from about 4,000 square feet to 10,834 square feet.
Taal Safdie of Safdie Rabines Architects offered an overview of the project, for which the owner is seeking a Coastal Development Permit.
CPA trustee Phil Merten, who previously opposed the project, expressed his concern with a 30-foot tower — which reaches the maximum allowable height for residential structures. It would be 15 feet from the right-hand property line.
Merten said a section of the La Jolla Community Plan mandates a more gradual transition in scale between new development and existing structures “to promote good design and harmony.”
Merten said the rectangular tower reminded him of “the original, early designs of Jack-in-the-Box restaurants.”
“I hate to use that comparison,” Merten said, “but this is of about that same scale and about the same height. I could not come to the finding that this element made the reasonable kind of transitions in scale down to the one-story house next door.”
Trustee Mike Costello added, “I have an appreciation for what that might do to a neighbor or maybe future neighbors and I’m wondering … is there some other place on the property where you could tuck (your tower).”
With regard to the tower’s location, Safdie said, “part of this was to create something dramatic in the entrance,” noting that homeowners on both sides of the property had seen the plans and written letters of approval.
Brian Keating, who owns the property in question, was in the audience to weigh-in on the project. He said the neighbors nearest the tower are “close friends” who attended his wedding.
“If we were to move (the tower) north we would have been obstructing some of their ocean views,” he said. “They actually said it was OK if we did, but we wanted to be very neighborly.”
Keating said his neighbors have no windows facing the tower, and that there is an existing hedge that divides the property line and blocks their view of it.
Trustee Laura Ducharme Conboy said she was “not troubled” by the tower.
“Sometimes a strong geometric form contributes to the overall look of the architecture,” she said, adding that the “scale is a bit deceiving and makes it look worse than it is.”
Devin Burnstein made the motion to lend CPA approval to the project, which was seconded by Cindy Thorsen. The motion was approved 10-3, with one abstention.
In other CPA news
• Lifeguard tower parking lot. Erin Demorest, a representative for District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, spoke of the city’s
$75-million infrastructure bond project, which includes $30 million in road resurfacing and other projects, including renovations to the lifeguard tower at La Jolla Cove.
Demorest said the parking lot in front of the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower should be resurfaced before Memorial Day weekend, after which five parking spaces would be used as a staging area for ongoing La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower renovations, through July 4.
• New Medical Center: UCSD Principal Community Planner Anu Delouri said work on the 10-story, 509,500-square-foot Jacobs Medical Center broke ground recently. The center is slated for completion in 2017.
• Morton resignation: Architect Michael Morton addressed his resignation from the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee over what he views as an “unfair hearing” on the long-proposed Hillel Jewish Student Center near UCSD.
Morton called for the CPA to organize a group to investigate the issue and report back to the CPA trustees and board with its findings.
“A fair and impartial hearing by an applicant in front of a committee is a very important right that all applicants should be receiving,” Morton said. “Many members of the subcommittee were part of organized groups in opposition to that project. They neither disclosed nor chose to abstain or recuse themselves from that vote.”
President Tony Crisafi said he would convene with CPA officers to investigate the matter and report back in the future.
• Sewer line update: City of San Diego engineering and capital projects manager Michael Ninh discussed the planned replacement of more than two miles of water and sewer lines in the Village, which was delayed for two years to due a lack of funding. The project is now in the final design stages, he said.
The $4.6 million project boundaries are Torrey Pines Road, Coast Boulevard, Ivanhoe Street and Prospect Place. Portions of Jenner Street, Prospect Street, Prospect Place, Park Row, Exchange Place and Silverado Street will be affected during the 12-month work schedule, Ninh said. The project is slated for completion in October 2013 with a moratorium on work during the holidays and summer.
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