DPR approves La Jolla Scenic Drive, Bird Rock projects

Following preliminary presentations earlier this month, La Jolla’s Development Permit Review committee (DPR) lent its approval to two projects at its Feb. 16 meeting: a home build project on La Jolla Scenic Drive South and a mixed-use project on La Jolla Boulevard. DPR findings will be submitted to La Jolla’s Community Planning Association for ratification.

Mixed-use Bird Rock project

Claude-Anthony Marengo, a principal at Marengo-Morton Architects, requested a Coastal Development Permit for the demolition of two commercial buildings and the construction of a two-story, 11,433 square foot mixed-use building with four residential units and two ground floor retail spaces at 5652-5656 La Jolla Blvd. The project would be built next to Beaumont’s Eatery and have a floor-area ratio of 1.24 where 1.3 is allowed.

Presenting a photo montage of surrounding properties on that block to show how the proposed development fits (at the request of DPR member Angeles Leira) and a detailed landscaping plan, Marengo said he would plant Gold Medallion street trees and roof plantings, such as hydrangeas and bougainvillea, which would be visible from all points of the street, on both the La Jolla Boulevard side and the alley side.

Addressing the ADA-compliant hallway, which had previously been critiqued for its narrowness, Marengo said it would not be visible from the street and placed to be “purely functional” to get people to the elevator. However, Leira quipped, “Just because something is purely functional, doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.”

Agreeing, and saying that some decorative concepts could be integrated into the hallway, Marengo said it would be something to be finalized later in the process. A motion that findings can be made for the presented project passed.

La Jolla Scenic Drive home

Project applicant Joshua Wood requested a Site Development Permit for environmentally sensitive lands for the construction of a new residence with a garage totaling 10,380 square feet. The 1.37-acre site is at 6083 La Jolla Scenic Drive South.

Addressing landscaping issues and returning with requested information (including an aerial photograph of the site), Wood said were no new comments from city staff regarding the brush management plan, although they were updated to better manage brush in the environmentally sensitive area, by moving the landscaping farther away from the coastal sage scrub found in the canyon.

Further addressing property plant life, Wood said there is existing mature landscaping that would remain, and the homeowner would add New Zealand Flax and three live oaks along the property line and driveway. A motion that findings could be made for the requested Site Development Permit passed.

In other DPR discussion

Applicants Mike Lake and Mandy Miller returned for a preliminary review (following a courtesy review last month) regarding the proposed Zephyr Residence at 921 Muirlands Drive. The project requires a Coastal Development Permit to demolish a residence for the construction of a new 8,885 square foot, two-story residence with attached garage and a 703 square foot guesthouse.

The applicants presented a showboard of proposed materials and a landscaping plan. Lake said much of the existing landscape would remain, with the addition of drought-tolerant plants on the property.

While the applicants also showed a rendering of how the house will look from the street behind the existing tall shrubbery, the issue arose of how the development would look relative to surrounding houses. Miller noted the street is windy rather than linear, so producing a photo montage would be more challenging than it might be for other projects, but they would try to get one for a future meeting.

Leira argued such information gives the committee better insight on how the property would fit with community character and relative height. DPR member Diane Kane added that the applicants would have “nailed it,” if they had such information. “We’re looking at how this project is going to change the neighborhood, if at all,” she said. “Overall, you did a lovely job. This is a quality project and there was a lot of thought put into it. I think it will be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.”

— DPR meets 4 p.m., second and third Tuesdays at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.