Black Halibut project revisited, slated for La Jolla Planners re-vote

Although it was already approved during the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s (LJCPA) April meeting, the Black Halibut project for La Jolla Shores will be heard once again in June. The board re-examined the accuracy of the renderings and heard from the applicant during its May 3 meeting, before voting to have the project return to a future meeting.

Applicant Claude-Anthony Marengo requests a Site Development Permit and Coastal Development Permit for demolition of an existing 2,578-square-foot single-story residence and 639-square-foot building to construct a new two-story-over-basement 6,927-square-foot single family residence on a 0.27-acre site at 8470 El Paseo Grande. The beachfront property sits next to a house that is slated to be developed, known as the Cardenas Residence project.

LJCPA trustee Phil Merten cited Council Policy 600-24 administration guidelines that state: “Community planning groups may vote on projects more than once in circumstances where a project has been substantially revised … (or) when incorrect or significant new information was received.”

Arguing that the renderings presented the month prior were “misleading” to suggest the adjacent Cardenas Residence project would be much larger than the subject property, Merten said the project needed to be revisited.

“If you looked at (the Black Halibut renderings), you might be inclined to vote in favor of the project because it appears as if the Black Halibut project was significantly lower and smaller than the adjacent house. But those exhibits were false and grossly misleading and misrepresent the house next door. … If you look at the approved plans of the Cardenas house, specifically the west elevation, and compare it to the computer model generated by Marengo Morton Architects, you’ll see there are some significant differences there.”

According to Merten’s documentation and notes from when the LJCPA reviewed the project in late 2016, the neighboring house is smaller than the Black Halibut project. While the actual measurements of the Cardenas Residence were not discussed in previous presentations on the Black Halibut project, previous LJCPA agendas state the Cardenas project will be 6,698-square feet (the Black Halibut project is proposed at 6,927-square feet).

In his retort, applicant Marengo said of the renderings in question: “We use them only for visual aid. The actual drawings we used and submitted to the City, and everyone else, are the drawings that are standard for a Coastal Development Project, and those are the standard drawings you see in 2-D where you see the height of the buildings. We don’t feel the allegations of defrauding and being misleading are warranted.”

He added: “The artist rendering was what was presented. They are just images. (Motioning to his architectural drawings) This is what you review.”

LJCPA trustee Dan Courtney opined: “It comes down to whether there were people who voted for the project based upon the rendering we saw, who might not have voted for it otherwise.”

A motion to rehear the project in June passed 9-5-1.

This would be the fourth formal presentation for this project. It was heard at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee in January and February, pulled from the LJCPA consent agenda in March, presented and narrowly approved 7-6-2 in April.

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, June 7 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org

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