La Jolla Shores permitters OK two modern-design builds


Two modern-design home-build projects in the “changing” neighborhood of The Shores got the green light at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC) meeting Nov. 20 at the Rec Center, and will proceed to La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

First on the docket was a project at 8247 Paseo Del Ocaso that was heard for information only in March and originally reviewed in September. Plans call for the demolition of an existing 1,900 square-foot single-story residence and construction of a new 4,332 square-foot two-story single family residence including a basement and roof deck. The new home will include a 1,492-square-foot first floor, 1,743-square-foot second floor and 1,097-square-foot basement and roof deck on a 0.12 acre site.

Representing the applicant, Mike Lake addressed concerns that were raised at previous meetings, chiefly, “wedding cake”-type offsets, which were added to both sides of the house to break up the massing since the project was last heard; and increases in the front yard setback that went from 17 feet to 21 feet from the back of the sidewalk.

“We’ve done a nice job of breaking up the planes on the side yards,” Lake said. “We met with all the neighbors and they are all in support.” With the housing going up rather than out, he added, “Our footprint is actually much smaller than the existing house and we made the backyard bigger. We are going up to two stories, but the footprint is smaller. Right now the setbacks are four-and-a-half feet each side, and we are going to five feet.”

Because The Shores does not have a maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR), the board cannot rule in favor or against a project based on its FAR, so PRC trustee Myrna Naegle questioned the “bulk and scale” of the project. “This house is 4,332 square feet, the average home on that block is 2,000 square feet. I’m also concerned that the second story is larger than the first, so the ‘wedding cake’ articulation doesn’t work here,” she said.

However, trustee Matt Edwards said he thought it would be a “great addition” to the neighborhood and that the current house is a “monstrosity.” A motion that findings could be made for the required permits passed 4-2-1.

A second project at 8361 Del Oro Court calls for the demolition of an existing 2,875-square-foot single-story house (with a current FAR of .14) and construction of a new 5,259-square-foot single story residence (at a proposed FAR of .26). The new residence would include five bedrooms, six bathrooms, three-car garage, pool, spa and pool bath, and a 400-square-foot roof deck.

The property in question is a “hop, skip and a jump” from PRC chair Dave Gordon’s house, who felt qualified to speak on community conformance. “It’s very nice, character-wise,” he said, and described some of the similar features of surrounding houses. “I think the architecture fits in with that of (nearby houses).”

One neighbor in attendance added the street is “changing” to include more modern homes. At previous PRC meetings, architects also said that area houses are being built with a more modern aesthetic.

The only stated concern is that the project plans call for the storage of pool equipment on the property line, and trustee Janie Emerson worried it could set a precedent if the board allowed it. But applicant representative Carlos Wellman agreed to move it.

A motion that findings could be made (so long as there is nothing on the property line) passed 6-0-1.

In other PRC news:

Applicant checklist coming: To ease the permit application process, Gordon said he was creating a checklist of items for a representative to include before he or she presents a project for board consideration. It was recommended that one be having neighborhood support in writing. “We’ve had cases where we’ve approved something and it proceeds to the Community Planning Association (for ratification) and suddenly the neighbors say no one told them about it,” he said.

Emerson added, “We get a lot of applicants that come in and say the neighbors are on board … and it’s not true. Maybe in the future, we should require letters from the neighbors.”

Hillside Drive project postponed: The project labeled “the K-3 Residence” was pulled from the agenda to be heard at a future meeting. It calls for the demolition of an existing residence and construction of a new 5,312-square-foot two-story-over-basement unit at 7661 Hillside Drive on a 0.14 acre site.

— Pending items to review, La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committeee next meets 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.