La Jolla's Development Permit Review group considers array of housing projects

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Antonio Sacido says he does not intend to rent out the companion units he wants to build on his property in the La Jolla Mesa neighborhood above Bird Rock. Pat Sherman

By Pat Sherman

During the July 15 meeting of the Development Permit Review (DPR) committee — which analyses all discretionary permits in La Jolla (outside the Shores) and submits recommendations to the La Jolla Community Planning Association to be ratified and sent to the city — the group considered the addition of two companion units (“granny flats”) for a property in the La Jolla Mesa subdivision (perched above Bird Rock).

The applicant is seeking coastal and site development permits and a lot line adjustment to build the units, plus a deck, staircase, swimming pool/spa and pergola on adjoining properties at 901 and 911 Skylark Drive.

During a final review of the project, DPR members and neighbors discussed hillside drainage issues related to the project at length. During a previous review, DPR members requested a drainage study and measures to control the impact of storm runoff on homes downhill.

Civil engineer Mark Farrington said basins would be installed beneath each proposed patio, staggering the water-flow during the first 48 hours after a storm, treating it and discharging it onto the slopes.

“We’re required to reduce the flows, treat the flows and direct them in a responsible manner,” Farrington said. “We tried to design these so that they would be projecting out at a direction that would not be directly impacting anybody’s house.”

The property owner, Antonio Sacido, said he wants to construct the patios and companion units for his wedding, but does not plan to hold other events there or rent the units, converting them to office space and/or a gym after his nuptials.

“The rumor has been running around — because we haven’t gotten any communication — that these are being built as summer rentals and party houses,” Sandpiper Place resident Bill Mitchell said.

“Why are you saying they are going to be rentals?” Sacido countered. “I will never rent this out — is that what you want me to say?”

DPR member Angeles Liera said the best way to assure the units will not be rented is to remove the kitchen at 911 Skylark. The existence of a kitchen is how the city defines a space as habitable. Plans for the companion unit at 901 Skylark include only a sink and refrigerator, which the city does not classify as a kitchen.

City code states that before a building permit may be issued for a companion unit, the property owner shall enter into an agreement with the city — approved by the city attorney — stating that neither the primary residence or companion unit may be sold or conveyed separately; and that the property owner will reside in the main residence or the habitable companion unit.

DPR members discussed the need for additional parking to prevent a bottleneck on the cul de sac where the home is located and surrounding streets, particularly in the event more large events are held there, or if the units are eventually rented, which, despite Sacido’s professed intent, city ordinances allow, it was noted.

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