Planning association approves scaled-down Bird Rock project

La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) trustee Phil Merten is chair of an ad hoc committee formed to discuss rules governing trustees who represent clients on projects being reviewed by the CPA. Pat Sherman photos
La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) trustee Phil Merten is chair of an ad hoc committee formed to discuss rules governing trustees who represent clients on projects being reviewed by the CPA. Pat Sherman photos
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La Jolla Community Planning Association (CPA) trustee Phil Merten is chair of an ad hoc committee formed to discuss rules governing trustees who represent clients on projects being reviewed by the CPA. Pat Sherman photos

By Pat Sherman

During its Aug. 2 meeting, La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) trustees voted 13-2-1 to approve a two- story, mixed-use development at 5702 La Jolla Blvd. It in- cludes 10 residential rental units and 7,726 square feet of commercial space.

In July, the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee approved the project, though the Development Permit Review Committee (DPR) rejected it, stating that findings for a coastal development permit and neighborhood devel- opment permit could not be made because La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance does not allow tandem parking for commercial uses (six of the project’s 26 parking spaces are tandem). DPR also rejected the project because there is only 21 feet on the alley for cars to back up or turn around.

Addressing CPA members, project architect Claude-Anthony Marengo said tandem parking is actually allowed via a neighborhood development permit, provided it is limited to assigned employee parking.

Several Bird Rock residents said they appreciated the concessions developer Michael Krambs has made in recent years, including use of flush balconies, a pleasing façade and removal of an initially proposed third story.

Two years ago, the development wound up in San Diego Superior Court, after the San Diego City Council approved the then three-story development in a two-story zone.

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Claude-Anthony Marengo of Marengo Morton Architects gives a presentation on a mixed-use development at 5702 La Jolla Blvd. the scaled-down project, formerly known ‘Bird Rock Station,’ received CPA support on aug. 2.

The earlier incarnation also provided street access to the parking garage, rather than from the alley behind the property.

In response to concerns about potential bottleneck situations in the dead-end alley, Marengo noted that the project would add 2.6 inches to the width of the alley. “It will be a much bigger alley once this development goes in,” he said.

Jane Reldan asked where customers would park if the six commercial spaces are all designated for employees.

“If you get the employees off the street, that frees up the public parking,” Marengo replied. “People aren’t leaving their cars for six and eight hours at a (time).”

Recessed balconies with planters will also add a measure of privacy for adjacent neighbors, Marengo said.

Darcy Ashley, who lives adjacent to the project, said she appreciates that the balconies no longer protrude, and other developer concessions, such as the appearance of an articulated roof. “This is a situation where we’ve had a lot of angst in the community,” she said, but after nearly two decades of looking at a dirt lot, “the neighbors I’ve talked to really seem to embrace having something built.”

In other CPA news

Ad hoc concerns:

CPA trustees discussed whether an ad hoc committee formed to address potential conflicts of interest when a trustee represents a project up for review by the CPA should include more non-professional representation from the community.

Its current ad hoc committee, chaired by trustee Phil Merten and vice-chaired by trustee Mike Costello, includes three architects and one attorney.

Architects and building professionals typically sit on community advisory groups and recuse themselves from votes involving their clients, though instances have occurred where trustees are representing projects in direct opposition to the CPA’s position on those projects.

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