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La Jolla’s Muirlands-area water project under review

Project manager Jericho Gallardo shows a map of the Muirlands streets that would be under construction as part of the city’s planned water project.
Project manager Jericho Gallardo shows a map of the Muirlands streets that would be under construction as part of the city’s planned water project.
(Ashley Mackin)

Plans for a “fairly large” water project in the Muirlands area were presented to La Jolla’s Development Permit Review (DPR) committee during its Jan. 19 meeting at La Jolla Rec Center. Impacted streets as part of this project include: Avenida Manana, Avenida Wilfredo, Manana Place, Muirlands Vista Way, Muirlands Drive, Solymar Drive, Newkirk Drive, Inspiration Drive, Terryhill Drive and Havenhurst Drive, and other alleys in the area.

Presented as a preliminary review, the City of San Diego Public Works project will replace 8,936 feet of pipe and install 2,300 feet of new pipe within the public right-of-way at multiple locations. The project will also replace a pressure-reducing station along Muirlands Vista Way and install new SCADA equipment on an antenna to be installed on an existing street light.

Project manager Jericho Gallardo told those gathered, “This is a fairly large project … and is scheduled to start in June or July of this year, and we expect it will take 11 months.” Following a recommendation from DPR, the city will start the draft Environmental Impact Report, though Gallardo predicted it would likely be a Mitigated Negative Declaration (which indicates the project in question would not have any major environmental impacts).

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Considering the Muirlands streets are narrow and have minimal visibility, DPR member Diane Kane questioned the project’s traffic control and staging – including dirt piles while crews are trenching, pipe storage and trenching equipment. “There are major impacts to the neighborhood, particularly on those windy streets where there isn’t a lot of room for all that stuff, and I’m worried the city contractors are not paying attention to the neighborhood,” she said.

Gallardo said he was not sure where the staging would be and would return to DPR with details. “Contractors are required to submit traffic control plans to our field engineering division, which we review … once we have a resident engineer on board, we can definitely give you that information,” he said.

The water project will be held concurrent to the planned undergrounding project for the Muirlands area. Phase 1 of the undergrounding project, which will ultimately take down overhead power lines and replace them with small utility boxes, will begin this summer. The larger Phase 2, which includes trenching and heavy street work, will begin in May 2017.

Gallardo said once the undergrounding work is complete, the streets will be repaved. Because the project was given a preliminary review (first hearing of an application that has been accepted by the city), the project will be heard again at a future DPR meeting.

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In other DPR news:

• Smollen Homes get the go-ahead: Back for a final review, the Smollen Homes project got the DPR committee’s vote of approval and will proceed to La Jolla’s Community Planning Association for ratification. The project was first reviewed at DPR’s Jan. 12 meeting, at which time the applicant requested a coastal development permit to demolish two existing dwelling units and construct two single dwelling units on two separate lots totaling 6,956 square feet. The 0.14-acre site is at 320 and 322 Nautilus St.

“Our client has lived there for 23 years and would like to continue living there but they want a new house to live in for their retirement. So their plan is to build a new house for themselves and another new house to sell,” said applicant Sasha Varone at the Jan. 12 meeting. 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. Parking access is from the alley behind the property, and leads to two, two-car carports. The carport walls would be at the entry and exit, with the two other sides would remain open.

Returning to DPR with the landscape plan, Varone put together an illustration to show how the project maintains a consistent look to its surrounding houses, including fencing and trees. “There are four trees close to the property and we are retaining three of them … the designated street tree is a Queen Palm, and we have one of those, which we are keeping. The alternative street tree is a Pine Tree, which we also have and are keeping.”

DPR chair Paul Benton said the Smollen Homes proposal “a straightforward, simple project following in with the neighborhood.”

• Zephyr Residence introduced: In a courtesy review, in which DPR can take no action, plans for the Zephyr Residence were presented. The applicant seeks a coastal development permit to demolish an existing residence for the construction of a new 8,885 square foot, two-story residence with attached garage and a 703-square-foot guest house at 921 Muirlands Drive. The project will be heard at a future DPR meeting for a formal preliminary review.

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


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