La Jolla planners support Muirlands project changes, opt not to appeal

Plans for the Coffman property call for demolishing the existing home and garage/guest house and building two houses. Photo: Kathy Day
Plans for the Coffman property call for demolishing the existing home and garage/guest house and building two houses. Photo: Kathy Day

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

After architect Tim Golba detailed changes to plans for two planned homes on Muirlands Drive that addressed neighbors’ concerns, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees opted Thursday not to appeal the city’s approval.

The 8-1-3 vote by the group, which makes land-use recommendations to the city, was a course reversal from a previous 6-0 vote by the La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee against the project. The permit review panel opposed a variance for the project as well as the proposed lot split.

More than two dozen residents turned out at the DPR meeting to objecting to the earlier request from the property owner to build two new dwellings — a 4,500 square-foot house to the south and a 5,500-square-foot house to the north. A smaller group turned out for Thursday's meeting.

Golba said the odd, boomerang-shaped property at 6604 Muirlands Drive is very unusual because it is just about the only neighborhood parcel wide enough and deep enough to accommodate a lot split.

Golba's presentation showing nearby homes revealed many of them are nearly or completely built out with little or no landscaping or open space.

“Our project would preserve views and enhance community character,” he said, noting he had come up with a solution to a problem raised by neighbors about what to do with two existing driveways that exit into the narrow roadway just before the curve.

“Paying homage to Bird Rock, we’ve designed a little roundabout that allows vehicles to turn around without backing up onto Muirlands Drive,” he said.

From the audience, Darcy Ashley, former La Jolla Town Council president, applauded Golba’s redesign.

“This is a good example of someone willing to work with the community and listen,” she said.

After the meeting, planning association president Joe LaCava agreed.

“The applicant and architect listened and did a substantial redesign to the project addressing the issues raised, and the planning group decided it was now a good project that they could support,” he said.

Not everyone at the meeting however was pleased with the project or its redesign.

Amy Chesire, who lives on Via Verde across the street from the proposed homes, said she’s not convinced redeveloping 6604 Muirlands won’t worse the existing traffic hazard, adding a lot split would also set an unwanted precedent in the neighborhood.

• In other action, Bob and Kim Whitney, whose proposed three-story, mixed-use project in La Jolla Shores has been controversial, has retained an attorney and submitted a letter alleging the LJCPA violated the Brown Act, which calls for open meetings. They contend the decision to appeal the project to the City Council was made without proper action and notice by the La Jolla group.

“We demand that the LJCPA cure and correct the illegally taken action by withdrawing your Whitney Mixed Use Project appeal,” the letter states.

And the winners are:

The top six vote getters in LJCPA’s election were David Little, Ray Weiss, Toni Crisafi, Orrin Gabsch, Jim Fitzgerald and Joe LaCava. Dan Allen won election to a two-year term and Cynthia Bond won the seat for a one-year term. There were 10 candidates for eight open seats.



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