La Jolla Permitters nix Greenberg home plans despite size reduction


Although it underwent some fat-trimming, the Greenberg Residence project in La Jolla Shores could not garner support in its fourth review at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC) meeting Oct. 24 at La Jolla Rec Center. It proceeds with a no-vote to the La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting Nov. 2.

When it was initially presented, the square footage could have made it the largest house by Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in the area at .94. Since then, the project’s FAR was reduced to .82. There is no defined FAR maximum in La Jolla Shores, but the overall size of the house still irked some PRC board members.

Applicant representative Michael Morton seeks to demolish an existing 2,069-square-foot single-story dwelling and construct in its place a 4,301 square-foot two-story dwelling with an 817-square-foot basement, swimming pool and spa at 8276 Paseo Del Ocaso. In explaining some of the reductions, Morton said one bedroom was removed from the plans (now five bedrooms); the size of the family room was reduced; the north side was pulled in two feet to increase the setback; and the front bedroom was pulled back and reduced.

Nevertheless, the elephant in the room was the perception that the house would be the largest in the area.

“We are not the biggest house,” Morton insisted. “I know we are a little larger on our lot, however, we have done a great deal to satisfy the perception of the house from the street, which is really the only view most of the community will have of this home — from the street. There was a time when these were all small, one-story, 1,200-square-foot homes. But the neighborhood has changed. It’s more of an urban beach community of larger homes than what once was there.” Morton proceeded to show photographs of other two-story houses in the vicinity.

He added, “There’s still some concern that this is a fairly large house, but there are homes scattered around The Shores that are over (or at) 4,000 square feet, so we won’t be the biggest house at 4,300.”

As trustees questioned the project’s FAR, which the board cannot consider when rendering a decision, Morton argued the project conforms to regulations that are “actually in the Shores Planned District Ordinance.”

Because the committee cannot deny a project based on its FAR, the motion to deny support of the project required a bit of wordsmithing. Trustee Janie Emerson made the motion that findings cannot be made “based on bulk and scale in the surrounding area,” which passed 5-1-1.

Two other projects

Presented for information only, plans for the Shteremberg Residence, 8361 Del Oro Court, call for demolishing an existing 2,875-square-foot single-story residence (with a current FAR of .14) to construct a 5,259-square-foot single-story residence (proposed FAR of .26).

The new residence will include five bedrooms, six bathrooms, three-car garage, pool, spa with an additional pool bathroom and a 400-square- foot roof deck.

Based on the setbacks, maximum height and relationship to the lot, there were no major objections from the committee. Emerson opined, “I’m not a big modern architecture person, but from the drawings, this is an intriguing-looking house.”

However, the Price/Cohen Residence project, 2045 Lowry Place, touted as a “modest addition,” raised a few eyebrows. It was also presented for information only. The homeowners seek to add 1,254-square-foot second floor addition to an existing 2,432-square-foot single-story residence.

Applicant Morton (also representing this homeowner) said, “This project started as a ministerial process. It went through the City, but when it was presented to La Jolla Shores Advisory Board, they determined it is not a minor project. We see it as a modest addition to an existing house.”

Trustee Bob Steck disagreed: “You are adding 50 percent to the property. I wouldn’t call that modest.”

Further, concerned with the sparsity of two-story houses in that area, Emerson added, “The other side of the street and some on that side of the street are all one-story houses.”

Morton replied, “Those are probably going to disappear in 10-15 years and be replaced with two-story homes.”

The information only projects will be heard again at a future meeting.

— PRC next meets 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.