Permitters try fast-tracking three preliminary reviews

Tuesday, March 20 was apparently a good day to present before the Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee at the La Jolla Rec Center. Of three projects heard, one was forwarded to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) for approval upon its preliminary review — a rare distinction requiring a unanimous vote — and the other two nearly followed suit.

Hired by the City’s Risk Management Department, engineer Walter Crampton sought a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to build two retaining walls, at 7116 Country Club Drive and 1601 Mimulus Way, and to remove an old, cracked one. The new walls would stabilize a hill damaged by a landslide caused by a November 2013 water-main break. (The water main was already replaced.)

The permit was such a slam-dunk, committee member Diane Kane thanked Crampton for the engineering lesson following the presentation, then asked: “So what do you need from us?”

“Your approval,” Crampton replied.

And that’s what he got, with a 7-0 vote to immediately forward the project to LJCPA.

Some committee members seemed perplexed that a CDP should even be required to perform such necessary work.

“I think I’ve heard enough to be satisfied that the taxpayers, as well as the property owners, need this,” said trustee Mike Costello. “And I would hate to be the one that held this project up while something else happened in the rain to require a special bond to pay for the damages that we created.”

Eads subdivision more divisive

DPR also showed love to Architect Bill Metz and builder Peter Weinberg’s preliminary bid to remap a .166-acre site so that two adjoining but separate residences — already under construction — can be offered at 7154 and 7156 Eads Ave.

“I like this better as a way of providing affordable housing,” Kane said. “This was cleaner for what people were trying to do, which is create separate ownership possibilities. I think it’s creative.”

An attempt to unanimously approve the project failed 5-2, however, and the presenters were asked to return with an aerial photo of the structure, the code section for small-lot subdivision, photos of the alley, a color-coded site plan for landscaping, a map identifying lots on the same block that encroach into setbacks, and a table of the lots on the block showing splits, condominiums and apartments.

“We’ll have photographs,” Metz promised.

“But what if we don’t like it?” Kane replied, which was a joke since it’s already under construction.

Peterson v. Costello

Attorney Matt Peterson, representing Stuart Stedman of 9048 La Jolla Shores Lane, got into it with Costello over a CDP permit to demolish a residence Stedman owns on the 0.81-acre lot directly north of his house at 9036 La Jolla Shores Lane.

“It’s a dilapidated old structure and all the neighbors hate it,” Peterson said, adding that the 1,706-square-foot residence was determined to not be historically designatable.

The only issue the City had with the plan, Peterson said, was requesting that a sidewalk be built. However, Peterson said that wasn’t possible because of a Torrey Pine tree in the way, adding that his client’s house has no sidewalk either, and there’s none south of that, “so there’s nothing to connect (a sidewalk) to.”

But Costello questioned what Stedman intends to do with the property once the house is demolished, stating: “I know something goes next.”

Peterson replied that the site would be used for a yard and to open up views, adding that any future development would have to be 40 feet back from the bluff edge and require a full application.

“I can’t bring you anything, Mike,” Peterson said. “He doesn’t have a plan. I’m being 100 percent honest with you. He could grade it, but now he wants to see what is it and do I like it?” He added: “He’s got a $30 million piece of property, so whatever he does, it’s not going to look bad, I can guarantee that.”

Costello replied: “I don’t think he’s going to rent it out to transients, but show us what it’s going to look like. He’s going to want something.”

The committee once again voted on whether to finalize a preliminary review, and Costello was the only holdout. Peterson thanked the committee, thinking that his presentation was approved to move onto LJCPA.

Upon being corrected, he replied: “Because it’s not unanimous? Are you kidding me?!” Then Peterson regained his composure and said he’d return to a future meeting: “I’ll talk to you guys for another hour if you want. I’m paid by the hour.”

DPR next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.