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1 of 3 home-build projects gets La Jolla Shores’ go-ahead

The applicants behind three projects previously heard, but never voted upon, returned to the Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC) meeting, March 19, with their fingers crossed, hoping for a vote of approval. Only one was more successful this time around.

1) The Price/Cohen Residence project at 2045 Lowry Place passed 5-2-0.

It calls for Coastal Development and Site Development permits for the demolition of an existing 2,432-square-foot single-story residence and construction of a new 3,749-square-foot two-story residence.

Applicant Bruce Peeling said he made “a lot of little changes” to the project since it was last heard — the lower floor setback was increased to five feet to make it consistent with houses in the area; the upper floor was stepped back an additional three feet all the way around (bringing it to a seven-foot step back); the whole project was moved back slightly; the top floor is now more than 10 feet from the public right-of-way; there were changes in materials; a reduced garage size and more.

2) The Pathria Residence project calls for the demolition of an existing single family residence of undisclosed size and construction of a new 3,995-square-foot two-story residence at 7975 Calle De La Plata.

 
Christian Rice presents plans for the Pathria Residence on an odd-shaped lot in La Jolla Shores. Ashley Mackin-Solomon

Although the plans underwent changes, some actually made the project less appealing to committee members, particularly the shorter-than-standard driveway and taller-than-standard wrap-around fence.

Applicant Christian Rice said the homeowner hoped for leniency in terms of meeting the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance (PDO), given the unusual shape of the lot, and the fact that when it comes to the parking and fencing. There were none. “This lot is highly unusual,” he said. “With most lots you have front lot-lines, side lot-lines and rear lot-lines, so you only see the front of the house. This lot is triangular. We’ve stepped the house back following the lot lines and made other changes.”

Rice said the driveway would fit two standard-sized cars, but could not be 20 feet long from the property line to the garage door (which is required in the PDO) because the lot is unusually shaped.

Trustee Tony Crisafi opined: “I would recommend not approving the project because of the driveway alone. Your driveway doesn’t work. It seems like an awkward design.”

Further, the fence is six feet tall on the side yard, set back from the property line, with the bottom three feet solid, and the top three feet “75 percent open.”

PRC chair Dave Gordon pointed out that fence requirements limit height to three feet. “That fence does not meet that requirement … since it does not meet code, I don’t think we can recommend approval.”

Agreeing, trustee Janie Emerson said allowing the project as presented would set a precedent. “We haven’t allowed (deviations from the code) with other projects, so there is no reason to allow it on yours.” A motion was made that findings could not be made for the requested permits. Rather than proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association with this vote, Rice opted to return to a future PRC meeting.

3) The Side LLC Project, calls for more construction on the troubled Hillside Drive. Residents have lamented the large number of projects being built in a short span of the street, and the resulting traffic impacts.

Applicant Alejandro Doring requests Site Development and Coastal Development permits for a 3,868-square-foot addition and interior remodel to an existing 3,126-square-foot residence, and construction of a new 6,880-square foot residence with new 815-square foot three-car garage at 7687 Hillside Drive. The resulting development would be two Spanish-inspired houses of nearly 7,000 square feet each, with setbacks only a few feet from, if not on, the property line (so much so that overhangs on the roof would technically be in the public right of way).

 
Alejandro Doring stands next to his Hillside Drive project renderings. Ashley Mackin-Solomon

Addressing traffic, Doring said the lot is large enough to accommodate 11 trucks and other construction vehicles between the two houses. He also promised an on-site project manager during building activities.

However, residents and others spoke out against the project. Larry Hecker said he was worried the “enormity and location of this property is going to take away my view,” and because of the short setback, “I could reach out my window to borrow a cup of sugar if I needed to.”

Representing others, Ione Stiegler noted that because one of the houses would be built from scratch, “there are a lot of opportunities for how to lay it out. The applicant needs to consider where they are in terms of the neighbors,” she said.

PRC issues included the short setback, a design inconsistent with the neighborhood, the project’s bulk and scale, the neighbors’ concerns, and the applicant’s failure to address property drainage.

Emerson concluded: “There is enough dissension here to have the applicant come back. We are not going to pass this until the applicant and the neighbors work it out.” Doring agreed to return to a future meeting.

— La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets 4 p.m. Monday, April 16 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org

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