La Jolla developers review proposals for gates, home construction


There were no motions floated, thus no recommendations made, by the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee (DPR) at its Feb. 12 meeting at the Rec Center. However, one of the five newly introduced projects proved the most contentious of the New Year so far — drawing angry neighbors, community activists and legal litigants who clamored to speak during public comment.

Scott Kivel, owner of a home at 1228 Park Row, asked DPR to recommend his application for a Neighborhood Development Permit (NDP) and an amendment to a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to allow two entry gates that were already built partly on the public right-of-way in front of his property — higher than originally permitted.

Kivel and his co-presenter, Ian Epley, made their presentation and then faced a firing line of objections.

“If this group, or any City planning group, gives forgiveness as opposed to giving permission, I’m not sure what you all are giving your time for,” said Abby Weiss, representing her deceased mother-in-law, a former neighbor of the project.

La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee Phil Merten argued that the gates need to be removed because the City is liable for whatever is built illegally into the public right-of-way.

“If a young child is injured by a gate that is in the public right-of-way,” Merten said, “it is the City that is liable.”

During committee deliberation, trustee Mike Costello suggested reopening the original permit.

“When it came to us a few years ago, it was a really nice project and didn’t have any controversies,” Costello said, “and now we have all this.”

Kivel was told to return to DPR with better presentation materials — including photos of the streetscape adjacent to the project and more accurate drawings — a drawing establishing height conformance, and either proof that an enclosed carport has been corrected or an explanation of why it should be considered acceptable.

5692 Dolphin Place

Also at the meeting, Mark Tuszynski, owner of a 2,470-square-foot home at 5692 Dolphin Place, explained why he should be granted a CDP and Site Development Permit (SDP) for alterations including a second-floor addition of 1,062 square feet — even though his submitted plans do not meet current zoning code.

“We have five people living here,” said Tuszynski, who has owned the house since 2011. “Three are teenagers, they all want their own bedrooms, and the only way to get the required space is to go up.”

The house was built only 10 feet from the edge of a bluff, which in 1911 seemed perfectly OK. Fifty years later, Tuszynski reported, a portion of the house fell into the ocean and the Army Corp of Engineers had to erect a protective wall and rock.

“Very often, we review projects that meet Municipal Code but do a terrible job maintaining community character,” DPR chair Brian Will said. “I don’t know if you will be successful at the City. Ultimately, you’ve got an uphill battle. But it seems like we might be open to your proposal.”

Tuszynski was asked to return to DPR with a satellite view of the neighborhood showing setbacks and second-floor development patterns, a survey of neighboring floor-to-area ratio and a plan to get the project approved.

1188 Muirlands

Architect Tim Golba presented his client’s application for a CDP to construct two new single-family dwellings on two vacant lots: a house at 1188 Muirlands Drive totaling 8,451 square feet, and a house at 1200 Muirlands Drive totaling 8,510 square feet.

During public comment, neighbors voiced concerns about drainage. Golba replied that this was a problem there.

“The first time we set foot on site, there was about a foot of water in the basement,” he said, explaining that the drainage system inherently designed into the property was not maintained.

Golba was asked to return with more detailed plans for drainage and grading.

Also at DPR…

  • 9046 La Jolla Shores Lane: Will asked if there was any public comment about a CDP and SDP application for a 1,943-square-foot addition to an existing 9,799-square-foot house at 9046 La Jolla Shores Lane. The addition would include an expanded garage, a guest room, an office and a cantilevered deck.
    When no one responded, Will replied: “Great, that’s what I like to hear!”
    Architect Gary Cohn was asked to come back only with a satellite view of the surrounding neighborhood and a parking plan.
  • 7248 Encelia Drive/7231 Romero Drive: Susan Smith and her husband, Walter, partners in Education Lab Architects, presented their case for a CDP and SDP to demolish an existing house at 7248 Encelia Drive damaged due to a landslide that occurred on a second lot at 7231 Romero Drive. They’d like to construct three-story single dwellings on each lot. The Smiths were asked to return with a satellite-view photo, a topographical map and grading and drainage plans, among other items.

— DPR next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at the La Jolla Rec Center, Room 1, 615 Prospect St.