La Jolla’s Development Permit Review committee (DPR) was introduced to three proposed home projects during its Jan. 12 meeting at the Rec Center. Presented for a preliminary review, no action or vote was taken on the projects, and the three applicants will return to a future DPR meeting for additional reviews and possible approval.
While Hauck said there are “considerations” for what would be done with the demolished lot, no further plans for development were presented. He said the house is vacant, has not been maintained and is falling into disrepair.
This raised an eyebrow from DPR member Diane Kane, who said she was apprehensive about approving a demolition without knowing what would go in its place. “I’m uncomfortable splitting projects like this … you want us to approve demolishing something existing to prepare for something that we don’t know yet,” she said. “The neighborhood needs to be sure that what is replacing this house is consistent with what it has.”
Further, neighbor Alan Johnson said he was concerned about the project based on what was done to surrounding homes. Johnson said on either side of the property in question, homes were torn down and replaced with “McMansions” of nearly double the size of the previous structures. Those homes, he said, “changed the character of the neighborhood dramatically,” and jumped from 7,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet or more. However, the developer who built the bookend homes is not involved with this project.
Convinced by Johnson’s concerns, one of the requests DPR made to applicant Hauck was to consider demolishing exterior structures and preserve the house, rather than tear everything down. DPR also requested the applicant return with a list of mature trees in the area, some slated for removal as part of this project.
“Our client has lived there for 23 years and would like to continue living there, but wants a new house to live in for retirement,” said applicant Sasha Varone. “So the plan is to build a new house for themselves and another new house to sell.”
For each house, plans include a first-floor kitchen, dining room, sitting area in the front, with three bedrooms and attached bathrooms on the second floor, and a third floor “penthouse” with a game room or entertaining area.
While the two houses are identical, Varone said the two structures are not mirrored, to ensure privacy. “So if you are in the main bedroom, you would be looking at the stairs of the neighboring house. If you were in another bedroom, you’d be looking at a closet.”
Tentative exterior designs include lighter stucco with limestone and steel on one house, with darker stucco and copper tones on the other. Other homes in the area, even on that block, include a mid-century modern, craftsman, adobe, etc.
What was not known was the landscape plan, so DPR requested the applicant return with a sample board of materials, tree retention plan and landscaping. The item was heard at the Jan. 19 DPR meeting, and will be included in next week’s La Jolla Light.
The project involves modification to an existing structure and modification of “site improvements.” The home is located on a steep slope overlooking Rose Canyon. Klein explained a landslide eight years ago prompted the city to build a storm drain, which discharged right near the property. To mitigate the damage, a retaining wall was installed without a permit.
Klein intends to bring the property to city code and upgrade the home through minor renovations. However, DPR members expressed concerned about the extent of the modifications to the slope and the restoration of a sufficient area of the slope. They requested Klein return with: the engineer’s report on the vibration received at the home and the recommended measures to repair this condition; consideration of a different configuration of the retaining walls so they follow the contours of the site; a colored landscape and re-vegetation plan that shows restoration of all disturbed areas of the property; a comprehensive design indicating the updated and final extent and type of all development of the retaining walls; and a calculation of the open space preserved areas that result from interpretation of the steep slope area.
La Jolla DPR meets twice a month, 4 p.m. the second and third Tuesdays at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. lajollacpa.org