Despite concerns, La Jolla Community Planning Association approves two residential projects
By Pat Sherman
The La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) gave its approval to two residential projects at its March 7 meeting, after discussion of each one’s merits and shortcomings.
The first project, the Gaxiola residence at 2414 Calle del Oro in La Jolla Shores, would require the demolition of an existing one-story, 3,178-square-foot residence to construct a new, two-story, 11,696-square-foot house with four bedrooms, seven baths, a two-car garage, attached guest quarters, swimming pool and retaining walls.
Though last fall the Development Permit Review Committee (DPR) voted that findings could be made for site and coastal development permits on the project, in December the LJCPA found numerous problems with those plans (see bit.ly/gaxiola) and asked that the applicant return with revisions.
In response to those concerns, Gricel Cedillo and architect Michael Morton reduced the size of hardscape at the front of the building and added additional landscape and trellises to soften its appearance, so that it would blend in with other buildings in the Shores and not appear “monumental” from the street.
The applicant also decided to use more of a 4,744-square foot “phantom floor,” where a wine room and guest suite will be added.
The applicant also indicated solar cells on the roof that weren’t shown in earlier drawings. The only change in the home’s height — 28 feet above grade at its highest point — was the addition of two feet added to a chimney.
La Jolla Shores resident and newly elected LJCPA trustee Janie Emerson, who sits on the DPR committee, expressed concern with the extent of the changes, questioning why the applicant didn’t first return to DPR with the new plans. Trustee Dan Courtney also said the changes warranted further review at the subcommittee level.
However, trustee Laura Ducharme Conboy suggested that requiring the applicant to return to the DPR or another subcommittee would be “really unfair,” adding that she felt the applicant had done “an excellent job” of clarifying previously confusing designs and softening the look of the front of the house, which includes the addition of windows in the phantom floor space.
“It’s more attractive to look at and has a more human scale,” she said.
Trustee Phil Merten said that while he liked the changes overall, he believed the flat, gray roof was out of character with others in the neighborhood, and had a “warehouse” feel.
Project architect Michael Morton countered that the roof is not flat, but low-sloped.
“This project has bounced around the CPA (Community Planning Association) for about three years,” Morton said. “I’m asking the CPA to render their final vote on this project.”
In the end the trustees voted that findings could be made for the required permits by a vote of 9-6-1.
Beach Barber add-on
LJCPA trustees also approved a variance to reduce the required side-yard setback for an 855-square-foot, second-story addition on a Beach Barber Tract residence at the corner of Marine and Olivetas streets. The project also calls for architectural and aesthetic changes to the first story.
The Development Permit Review committee approved the variance 4-2-1 at its January meeting.
The applicant, represented by architect Mark Mitchell, is seeking to reduce the normally required street side-yard setback from 10 to four feet. Mitchell noted 14 other non-conforming side-yard setbacks in the neighborhood, and said 20 of the 30 surrounding homes are two-story.
Trustee Frances O’Neill Zimmerman, as well as a homeowner next door to the project, expressed concern that the proposed “Pham” residence, which includes a roof deck and chimney extending more than five feet above the deck railing, would dominate “an adorable white house” next door.
“This will eclipse the house that is four feet from it heading east,” Zimmerman said. “It will be unsightly on a corner (and) huge compared to the low-lying buildings in the neighborhood. It is a crime to do this, but let’s go forward with the vote.”
A motion to approve the variance passed 8-6-1.
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