By Dave Schwab
Running the maze of community planning reviews, architects Alcorn & Associates are progressing toward approvals that would clear the way for townhomes on a portion of La Jolla's historic Green Dragon site.
After two meetings last week, the project gets another look on Tuesday.
Last Monday and Tuesday, Jim Alcorn and Paul Benton were before the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (PDO) Committee and the La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee. They were talking about requests for variances, permits and construction drawings to build three, for-rent, single-family residences — the Jack O’Lantern Townhomes — on a prime, ocean-view site with existing commercial buildings.
The project site at 1241, 1245 and 1249 Coast Blvd. includes but is below the former Chart House now being remodeled into an Eddie V’s, which is scheduled to open this summer. The spot used to be the site of four little cottages removed in 1991 and is near the heritage house which was turned into Brockton Villa restaurant.
Alcorn said a similar redevelopment proposal on the same site back in 1995 never came to fruition. That proposal called for four residential units. The most recent proposal scales units back to three, making the project more spacious.
The permit review committee deferred action until its next meeting on April 19, asking the architects to return with updated construction drawings matching those being submitted to the city for approval.
Alcorn said he intends to have the redevelopment project heard in May by the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), which makes recommendations to the city on land use.
After lengthy discussion, the other community panel — PDO, which looks at issues like colors, surface textures and how a project adheres to local design standards, voted 6-0 to grant Alcorn & Benton’s request to waive the requirement for retail use on the ground floor. Their motion also allows them not restrict residential use to the ground floor only, and allow driveways and curb cuts on the same lot no closer than 150 feet to allow individual, rather than requiring shared, underground parking on-site.
“I have no problem with the variances,” said PDO committee member Orrin Gabsch, who had other concerns about the former Green Dragon site. “I think we need to study the whole site,” he said. “I hate piecemealing this. We ought to be looking at the whole picture.”
In reply, Alcorn noted the residential project on the property is “self-contained.”
After the committee meetings, Benton noted variances are necessary for the redevelopment project because the former Green Dragon site is unique, not only being historical, but also because it has two “fronts” on Prospect Street and Coast Boulevard making it something of an anomaly planningwise .
At the DPR meeting, committee member Phil Merten said he didn’t like the fact that curb cuts proposed for the site will eliminate one parking spot.
“I’m hung up on reduction of public parking on the street,” he said. “The La Jolla Community Plan says we should maintain and enhance public parking, especially close to the coast. This is one of the most desirable spaces in all of La Jolla, and we’re going to be losing parking.”