No recommendation possible in Greenberg project

The saga of the Greenberg Residence at 8276 Paseo Del Ocaso in La Jolla Shores continued through November, when it was denied at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, discussed at the City of San Diego’s planning department and, most recently, was heard at the Nov. 27 La Jolla Shores Planned District Advisory Board (LJSPDAB) meeting at La Jolla Rec Center. Although the project’s overall size was reduced, the LJSPDAB board was split in its voting, 2-2, effectively saying the board could not agree upon a recommendation. The findings proceed to the City for consideration.

The project calls for the demolition of a 2,069-square-foot one-story single-family residence and the construction of a new 4,253-square-foot, two-story, single-family residence with two-car garage, 814-square foot basement and roof deck area on a 5,250-square-foot lot.

The plans were repeatedly heard at La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, and ultimately voted down in early November. When initially presented, the square footage could have made it the largest house by Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in the area at .94. Since then, the project’s FAR was reduced to .82 and again to .81. However, there is no defined FAR maximum in La Jolla Shores on which a board could base its vote.

In explaining some of the reductions, architect Michael Morton said the setbacks were increased from just under four feet to five feet on the north and south side, and the second story was reduced. “The concerns the City had were with harmonious transition in the neighborhood,” he said. “So we are stepping back our second floor nine feet and we changed our articulation.”

Addressing the concern over bulk and scale, Morton added that the neighborhood is “in transition” going from what it was in the 1950s with very modest homes to “an urban beach community, which is a different animal.” The building is 29 feet 5 inches at its highest point, with a roof deck at 24 feet with a guardrail.

In meeting with surrounding neighbors, Morton said plans were adjusted to protect privacy from the roof deck and reduce noise from the pool by way of hedges that will be planted. There is currently a hedge on one side, which would be “doubled up” to increase privacy.

Dissatisfied, resident Mary Little said she was still concerned that the property would be too close to hers and her backyard would be visible from the roof deck. “They have accommodated neighbors on two sides and I have begged that they do not overlook my backyard, invading the privacy I’ve had for 55 years. You are going to be looking right down into my patio and into my house,” she said, adding that her one-story home was immediately next to the proposed development. Little also said she was worried that should the pool flood, the water would kill the vegetation that exists.

However, LJSPDAB chair Dan Goese said: “It’s safe to say that this would not be the worst offender in terms of bulk and scale, and the treatment of the front is a big factor. The FAR still sounds a bit outlandish, but this proposal has gone from a ‘no way’ to ‘still pushing it but acceptable.’ ”

Trustee Suzanne Weissman added: “I still have trouble approving a project with a .81 FAR with this bulk and scale ... we do have much larger houses one block up, but this block seems to be smaller than that.”

Goese moved that findings could be made to approve the project, but the motion yielded a split vote 2-2.

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