BY DAVE SCHWAB
La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees turned thumbs down to relocating two existing historic cottages from Cave Street to Ardath Road on the opposite side of town.
Both proposals were roundly defeated by a 12-2-1 group vote.
Architects Jeffrey Shorn and Jim Alcorn along with attorney Marie Burke Lia, representing Allison-Zonkger, the long-term lessees of the historic home and guest cottage property at 1261-1263 Cave St., gave a presentation to LJCPA’s board Nov. 4.
The trio described a decade-old plan to save the Victorian Stick-style historic home as well as its Craftsman-style guest cottage. The property on which both structures rest has been owned for decades by the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. Church officials want to expand the existing parking lot, displacing the homes on the historic site and creating a new, 20-space surface parking lot.
The historic cottages would be moved to an Allison-Zongker property at 2503 Ardath Road, where an existing single-family home would be demolished to make way for the house and guest house, which would then be rehabilitated and resold.
“This block, which has been converting from residential to commercial since the mid-‘60s, is now 86 percent non-residential,” said architect Alcorn. “Since 1998, the church has had the idea of converting this parcel to surface parking, not only for its own large get-togethers, but also because the community needs more on-street parking.”
Architect Shorn, noting plans are to build additions on to the rear of both historic structures once they’re moved, said “their scale and character will add to the residential neighborhood in which they can now be moved.”
Attorney Burke-Lia argued that the two cottages are a “remnant” on their existing site, that it is entirely appropriate to move them elsewhere to preserve them, and that creating additional public parking in that area would be a public benefit.
Don Schmidt said La Jolla Historical Society does not favor relocation of the LaCrosse cottages.
“The Preservation Committee voted in favor of keeping them in the vicinity of their original location where they can be maintained in their historical context,” he said. "Relocating them to Ardath Road where they would not be visible would serve no public benefit.”
Schmidt added the Society’s "no" vote was nothing personal against developers.
“We’ve just really been burned by cottages moving around the last 10 years,” he said, citing, as one example, a historic “Munchkin” house that was supposed to be relocated but ended up “dismantled and rotting away in boxes.”
During debate most planning association trustees weighed in against relocating the historic structures. Architect Tony Crisafi said displacing two historic structures in favor of 20 additional parking places was a poor trade-off.
Planner Mike Costello read a passage noting “older buildings transcend their value as pieces of real estate and function as symbols of great depth and meaning to people of the community … Their place in the urban landscape is as important as schools, roads, parks and churches.”
After the defeat of both motions, it was suggested developers rework their proposal and return to the community’s Development Permit Review Committee at a later date for project reconsideration.