Permitters approve four-building complex, seawall fix

Three projects obtained approval at the June 20 meeting of La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) committee: Seawall maintenance to stabilize the cliffs under Calumet Street in the Bird Rock area, a development plan to demolish an existing 13-unit apartment building and construct four buildings for five single-family residences in its place, and a minor addition and repair to a residence on Monte Vista Avenue.

After a bluff failure seven years ago, the owners of 5322 Calumet Ave. built an emergency erodible concrete wall to prevent further damage to their property. Adjacent to the lot sits a paper street (a public right-of-way that exists on City maps, but not in physical reality) that’s designated by the La Jolla Community Plan as a “View Corridor.”

Now, said geologist Robert Hawk, the unimproved street is being eroded. “This winter we measured about six feet of erosion since the wall was built (in 2010) — about 10 inches of erosion a year,” he explained. Applicant Tom Story added, “The property owner is proposing to the City that at his own expense, we would come in and stabilize this portion.”

The proposal involves reinforcing the lower third of the 39-foot-tall bluff with erodible concrete. “If we don’t do this small project now, the one in the future will be much more substantial,” Hawk explained, implying that doing nothing at this time risks the future formation of a sea cave at the paper street that would jeopardize not only the public right-of-way, but also the adjacent properties.

Asked how long the seawall is expected to last, Hawk replied, “10 to 20 years, (but) we’re in a time of rising sea levels, and that’s going to affect the seawall. … The erodible concrete continues to erode like the bluff.”

Neighbors’ concerns expressed in the preliminary review of the project on June 13, included project duration and construction nuisances. Story said the estimated construction duration was four to six weeks, and he agreed to do pre-construction notification to neighbors and indemnifying homeowners if property damage occurs.

Five Playa del Sur units

A project to demolish a 13-unit apartment building and construct four detached structures for five residential units at 290 Playa del Sur was approved. The architectural design by Daniel Linn shows three, three-bedroom single-family residences, and a fourth structure divided into a 380-square-foot studio and a two-bedroom single-family residence.

The three-story buildings include a garage on the first floor, with underground carports accessed through a lift, adding up to a total of 14 parking spaces on-site. The exteriors are painted wood-siding, alternating garage and front door on each street (the lot is framed by one-way streets Playa del Norte on the north and Playa del Sur on the south).

During the preliminary review, DPR members commented on the three-foot building separation, asking the applicant to consider either building one big structure or adding separation by reducing the square footage of the residences.

“We reflected on that,” replied applicant Joe LaCava, “but we continue to feel that the separate buildings are a better fit for the neighborhood.” Also, as he stated in the preliminary review, the detached units are a more marketable product and therefore more “financially feasible.”

DPR board member Angeles Leira said, “I look at the character of the neighborhood and in that particular area (there’s a lot of detached units), so I don’t feel as strongly over the spaces between the buildings as I have in other projects.”

LaCava continued, “The last (committee) proposal was to modify building D, saying it was a little blunt in the articulation, so we added a trellis to break up the facade of that building. (That was a) great suggestion, you can really see how that enhances the building.”

Monte Vista Ave. remodel/addition

A project to construct a 192-square-foot addition and modify the site retaining walls of an existing duplex residence at 7404 Monte Vista Ave. was approved unanimously. The addition will contribute a music room to the residence. A new basement is also in the plans.

Condo conversion

After second review, permitters decided to table a plan to convert two existing single-family residences into condominium properties at 7209 and 7211 La Jolla Blvd. DPR board members were surprised when applicant Beth Reiter presented photographs that included a staircase that wasn’t on the original map. Reiter pledged to come back at a later meeting with the architect to answer committee members’ questions.

— DPR next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 11 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. bit.ly/planningagendas

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