La Jolla planning association green lights Chase Bank in Bird Rock

This vacant building at 5605 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock is the proposed site of a new Chase Bank. The building opened in 1976 as Security Pacific Bank and has since served as a surf shop. Pat Sherman photos

By Pat Sherman
Despite some mild concern over traffic issues, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) voted July 5 to approve a neighborhood use permit for a Chase Bank location at 5605 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock.
The vacant building, which most recently housed a surf shop, opened in 1976 as Security Pacific National Bank (which was acquired by Bank of America in 1992).
Steve Laub of Land Solutions, Inc., who is representing Chase Bank on the project, outlined three changes that were made to the project since the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee (PDO) approved the permit in May. Three additional parking spaces proposed for the rear of the property, which were denied by the city, have now been slated for the side parking lot. In addition, landscaping was slightly reduced to accommodate extra parking. A handicap parking space also was moved and an ADA- compliant sidewalk ramp will be rebuilt.
CPA trustee David Little, who voted against the project when it went before the PDO, expressed concern with the estimated 514 additional vehicle trips that the bank would generate, given that traffic on La Jolla Boulevard had been “calmed and balanced pretty well,” he said.

Laub said the additional trips were about the same as would be generated by a restaurant at the site, and were few enough that the city did not require a traffic study.

“Chase believes and I also believe as a professional planner that you’re not going to see a significant impact from this,” Laub said, noting that business owners and residents must now drive two miles north or two miles south to do their banking. Those trips would be eliminated for people who choose to bank with Chase, he said.

In response to concerns about bank employees parking on La Jolla Hermosa Avenue, Laub said Chase employees would park off- site, under a lease agreement negotiated with a nearby parking provider.

Trustee Mike Costello said the project received a “very positive and enthusiastic” response when it went before the Bird Rock Community Council. Approval of signage will go through PDO. It’s façade will remain the same.

La Jolla Community Planning Association discussed whether a 6-foot-high wall belonging to a resident along La Jolla Scenic Drive North obscured public views of Pottery Canyon and was over the allowed height limit for such structures.

In other CPA news

Retaining wall permit denied: Despite an impassioned plea from a property owner to approve site and neighborhood development permits for an existing 6-foot-high wall on his property off La Jolla Scenic Drive North, CPA trustees could not make the findings to approve the wall, which exceeds height limits or La Jolla Shores and was completed without the required permits.

The property owner, Julio Zegarra Jr., said he wrote the city a check for one permit, which was cashed, though the contractor who completed the work did not finish filing necessary documents with the city. Zegarra said he spent upwards of $60,000 for the wall and related studies, but still hasn’t obtained a permit.

“This is just part of the whole mess we’re in, but it was not my intention to do something that was against the law,” said Zegarra, who requested the item be pulled from CPA’s April agenda. The city has requested that Zegarra rebuild the wall, replacing its top two feet with glass or another transparent barrier to preserve public views.

Trustee Phil Merten, an architect, said that, for the most part, the character along La Jolla Scenic Drive North is low fences and walls, and that Zegarra’s wall “disrupts the architectural unity of the neighborhood.”

Brian Longmore, a consultant representing Zegarra, noted that pine trees on public land adjacent the wall already obscure a portion of the view, and that just north of the property is vacant land used as an overlook for Pottery Canyon.

he view of Pottery Canyon from La Jolla Scenic Drive North. La Jolla Community Planning Association discussed whether resident’s a six-foot high wall, built without the required permits, obscures public views of the natural park from roadway.

“You’re not getting any view of our community, not getting any view of the cove” through the wall, Longmore said. “To gain 13 feet of visibility while driving down the road when you’ve got 300 feet of open space just to the north of there at a cost to his family’s security and privacy, I think is unreasonable.”

CPA Vice-president Joe La Cava was more sympathetic to the wall, nothing that the development it was in deviated from the surrounding community by design, though it still complied with the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance.

“I’m a big believer in the community plan, but the only thing we’re going to get out of this is a lousy 6 or 10 feet, and that’s it,” he said. “That seems like an unfair imposition on this gentleman. I’m troubled by that, but I also don’t like to give in on view corridors.”

A motion to approve the permits with stipulations suggested by the PDO when it lent its approval in June, and another motion to approve the wall with the glass partition, also failed to garner majority votes.

Belvedere Promenade: CPA trustees lent their unanimous approval to the Belvedere Promenade Project, as first proposed and designed by architect Jim Alcorn more than 20 years ago.

The project, now an official component of the La Jolla Community Plan, would replace an existing section of Prospect Street between Herschel and Girard avenues with a pedestrian promenade.

Before approving the proj- ect, trustees expressed some concern that restaurateurs not let their sidewalk seating envelope the entirety of the promenade.

Consent agenda items approved by CPA trustees: PDO’s recommendation to allow changes to the top of the AT&T building at 5644 La Jolla Blvd.; the Develop- ment Permit Review Com- mittee’s (DPR’s) vote to allow an extension of time to obtain a neighborhood development permit on two 4,000 square-foot homes proposed for Almeria Court; DPR’s recommendation to approve community and site development permits to demolish a home at 811 Havenhurst Point and replace it with a 7,300 square-foot home; and Traffic and Trans- portation’s recommendation to approve street closures re- quired for the End of Summer Fire Run (Aug. 26), La Jolla Food & Wine Festival (Oct. 13-14) and the San Diego Triathlon Challenge in Scripps Park (Oct 21).

Grading complaint: During public comment, a Muirlands resident complained about grading she considered “extremely severe” and “aggressive” taking place at a residential development at 6324 La Pintura Drive in Muirlands. The woman requested that CPA put the item on a future agenda for discussion.

Trustee special election: Three candidates expressed interest in joining CPA’s board of trustees. A special election will be held at the Aug. 2 meeting.

The candidates are: Longtime La Jollan and former CPA trustee Bob Collins; La Jolla Shores resident and seal advocate Dr. Jane Reldan; and Robert Steck, a retired marketing and sales professional who moved to La Jolla three years ago with his

Related posts:

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  3. Copley construction raises neighbors’ concerns
  4. Iconic Bird Rock collapses
  5. Appeals court reduces 'Bird Rock Bandit' Cravens' conviction

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Posted by Pat Sherman on Jul 12, 2012. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “La Jolla planning association green lights Chase Bank in Bird Rock”

  1. Bill

    “Architectural unity?” Ha! If only that concept were really enforced in La Jolla. Look at the new monstrosity at Nautilus and Draper. Or look at the HUGE modern mess at Olivetas and Dunemere. All the houses there are cute, charming cottages, but then you see a BIG modern house which has no place in that neighborhood. How did that get approved?

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