Community groups reject three-story project behind Vons

This employee parking lot behind Vons supermarket on Girard Avenue could be developed as a mixed-use commercial and residential building. Pat Sherman

By Pat Sherman

Members of La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance (PDO) and Development Permit Review (DPR) city advisory committees declined to approve a mixed-used project on Girard Avenue, proposed for land currently used as Vons’ rear parking lot.

On Jan. 8 the DPR voted against approval of a coastal development permit (CDP) and map waiver (deviation) for the proposed three-story project, which would include eight residential units and one 5,125-square- foot, ground-floor commercial space.

The PDO committee argued that La Jolla’s planned district ordinance (the community’s blueprint for development) restricts development to two stories in its commercial zone.

The groups also expressed concern about the “very dark color” of the project. La Jolla’s planned district ordinance calls for avoiding dark colors in favor of earth tones, pastels and other light colors.

DPR chairman Paul Benton likened the project to the Bird Rock Station development, proposed for the northwest corner La Jolla Boulevard and Bird Rock Avenue. Following community uproar over that project — initially proposed as three stories — the developer made concessions to limit the project’s perceived height to two stories by moving its parking garage underground.

“This is kind of the problem when somebody comes into the area and they’re really not familiar with La Jolla planning,” Benton said. “Everybody knows the height limit is 30 feet. … The (Girard Avenue developer) designed it thinking he could go to three stories, because it fit within 30 feet. … The planned district ordinance clearly states that you cannot go to three stories.”

City staff told the applicant that the only method of achieving three stories is to apply for a deviation to the planned district ordinance, which Benton said is approved in “special cases if members of the community think it’s a good idea.”

Benton said a deviation and a variance are commonly confused, the latter of which requires a hardship. While a developer does not have to prove a hardship to obtain a deviation, it must be demonstrated that the project conforms to the community’s character and does not create environmental impacts such as view blockages, parking problems or incompatible occupancies, Benton said.

Though DPR members generally liked the project’s “modern” and “leading-edge” design, and had no problems with proposed tandem parking, they found its location next to Vons could be considered an “incompatible adjacent use.”

“What they’ve done is they’ve shown that Vons doesn’t really need that (employee) parking lot anymore,” Benton said. “That’s how they justified selling it (to the applicant).”

Benton said the DPR committee would like to see the developer return with a two- story design, though that would most likely reduce the number of residential units.

Philip Quatrino, owner of PQ Design Studio, which presented the project to the advisory groups, said he is not certain whether the developer will ask him to present an alternate design to the La Jolla Community Planning Association or DPR at a later date.

“We’ve already had two unanimous approvals on the project and then low-and-behold the three-story height limit thing popped up, which caught everybody by surprise,” he said. “Right now we’re still weighing our options, looking at the design and trying to figure out our next course of action.”

Related posts:

  1. Plans for Jewish student center in La Jolla rejected again
  2. Outraged planning group demands Scripps lop a story off MESOM building in La Jolla
  3. Planning association approves scaled-down Bird Rock project
  4. Election 2012: Who is Lori Saldaña?
  5. Gotta Work

Short URL:

Posted by Pat Sherman on Jan 29, 2013. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Local camp shapes Solana Beach youth into community leaders July 28, 2014
    After attending the inaugural La Colonia de Eden Gardens Youth Leadership Camp last year, Edgar Vergara was inspired to make positive change in Solana Beach’s Eden Gardens community. Along with other local teens, the 15-year-old co-founded the youth group La Colonia Changers and recently hosted a town hall forum on underage drinking. Passionate about making […]
  • Del Mar Union School District approves new contract for superintendent July 28, 2014
    The Del Mar Union School District Board July 23 approved the new contract for Superintendent Holly McClurg through June 30, 2018. Per the contract, McClurg’s annual salary will be $185,000 with an annual doctoral stipend of $10,000. She will receive a car allowance of $400 a month, 25 vacation days, health benefits and a retirement contribution of $700 a mon […]
  • Carmel Valley 5K and 10K to hit Gonzales Canyon trails in September July 28, 2014
    A new trail running race is coming to Carmel Valley this fall. Jeff Stoner of Del Mar’s Seasick Marketing visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board to update the board on the plans for the Carmel Valley Trail 5K and 10K Run, set to take place on Sept. 20. A portion of race proceeds will go toward the Challenged Athletes Foundation. […]