La Jolla community planners approve Starbucks patio plans

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The La Jolla Community Planning Association board voted to have its president draft a letter to the City of San Diego stating that the dark red color of this condominium building at Eads Avenue and Silverado Street does not comply with La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance.

By Pat Sherman

During its July meeting, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) green-lighted Starbucks’ plan to add an outdoor patio to its location at 1055 Torrey Pines Road, but were seeing red over the color of the Devonshire House condos at the corner of Eads Avenue and Silverado Street.

LJCPA members say the dark ruddy color of Devonshire House, painted in July 2011, does not comply with La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance (PDO), the community’s blueprint for development.

A motion was passed to have LJCPA President Tony Crisafi draft a letter to the city urging that it enforce the PDO in regard to this property.

Kris McMillan, who owns one of 64 units in the building, said a few members of Devonshire’s homeowner association board approved the color change without community input. In an e-mail sent to the board in June 2011, McMillan said the color, named Smokey Mountain … “did not construe in my mind the bright red, fake brick tone of the terra cotta color being used.”

McMillan said there is talk about repainting the exterior, but little money in the association’s reserve fund for the job.

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Artist rendering of a patio Starbucks plans to add to its location on Torrey Pines Road near Girard Avenue. Courtesy

Starbucks’ new gathering space:

Though some LJCPA members expressed concern about impacts to traffic flow along Torrey Pines Road from a Starbucks location near the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and Girard Avenue, the board unanimously approved the design of its proposed patio.

The board voted that findings could be made for a coastal development permit and site development permit to construct a 1,099-square-foot patio, which would replace a former bank drive-thru. The LJCPA motion included a provision that Starbucks construct a sidewalk and curb to city standards that would replace the drive-thru entrance (currently blocked off by large planters).

The patio will have a wooden railing, banquette seating, couches, heaters and “subdued lighting” that won’t create a disruptive glare for neighbors or traffic passing by on Torrey Pines Road, said Starbucks representative Elizabeth Valerio.

LJCPA trustee Myrna Naegle said she worried about vehicles entering and exiting the building’s two driveways on Torrey Pines Road, given the high volume of traffic along that stretch, though fellow trustees Patrick Ahearn and Phil Merten said they find it easy to get in and out of the driveways when heading north on Torrey Pines Road.

Ahearn said many patrons, including residents and those from the adjacent language school, walk to the establishment, adding that he believes it will create “a sense of community and of place.”

LJCPA Vice-chair Joe LaCava said the Starbucks and adjoining Chipotle restaurant may prevent some of the language students from darting across the bustling street to visit other lunch and break spots. “I’m surprised nobody got killed (before),” LaCava said.

In other LJCPA news

Subcommittee attendance

: Several items that would normally have landed on the LJCPA’s consent agenda, wound up on its regular agenda for discussion, because there was no quorum at recent meetings of the Traffic and Transportation Board (T&T) and the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC).

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