Shores Permitters approve Grady, Sunset residences, updates charter

Two familiar projects each got the OK from the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC) during its Nov. 19 meeting at the Rec Center: The Grady residence project, which was heard in October; and the Sunset residence project, which came before the board last year as the Greenberg residence project.

Findings for both projects proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) for ratification.

Grady Residence

The Grady Residence, in its second presentation in as many months, calls for the demolition of an existing house at 7910 Saint Louis Terrace and construction of a new, articulated two-story 4,640-square-foot residence over a 2,170-square-foot basement with garage and studio. The property sits on a corner at the top of a street and is largely blocked by trees, which will remain.

Applicant’s representative and La Jolla architect James Alcorn said the “big grove of trees” will largely shield the three-bedroom house with companion unit. Answering questions from the previous month, Alcorn presented building material samples and a streetscape showing how the development will fit in with surrounding houses.

Although there is not a maximum Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) for La Jolla Shores, it is often used as a measure of how the size of the house compares to those in the area. Alcorn said this project’s FAR is “not as large as some, larger than some others.”

At which point, multiple trustees pointed out there is only one house larger by FAR in the area. “The trees will be very helpful in that regard,” Alcorn responded.

PRC trustee Myrna Nagle said: “It is a beautiful design, just beautiful, but I’m concerned about the character with the neighborhood and the Floor Area Ratio.”

Nevertheless, a motion to approve the project passed 4-0-2.

Sunset Residence

The Sunset residence project, which previously came before the board and the LJCPA as the Greenberg Residence project, was approved on its first presentation, based on how much the project had changed from its previous incarnation.

The project calls for the partial demolition and remodel of an existing single-family house at 8276 Paseo del Ocaso to add a 1,134-square-foot second-story and 240 square feet to the first floor.

When heard at PRC meeting in late 2017 as the Greenberg residence, the board voted the project down based on its exorbitant size. It proceeded to the LJCPA, but was pulled from the agenda for a full review. However, it never returned to the LJCPA for the full review.

With a completely new architect and design, the project was re-heard.

Applicant’s representative Colin Lowry said the project will keep three of the existing walls, but extend into the “large” front yard to build the house out.

PRC chair Dave Gordon said the project has been “slimmed down a lot” and gave kudos to the architect.

“It’s a fairly minimal, modern design mainly of stucco with some wood accents and metal accents,” Lowry said, and that the height is “well below” the 30 foot height limit at just over 27 feet. The second story is set back 34 feet from the property line and will contain a terrace overlooking the ocean.

Similar to when the project was presented as the Greenberg residence, neighbor Mary Little came to voice concerns over her privacy with the second floor addition. “I have been in my house for 54 years and I have growth in the back to keep people from looking in,” she said. “I hope they will not encroach on my property.”

Lowry opined the terrace would not look into her yard, because it would be blocked by existing vegetation.

“There is nothing in our Planned District Ordinance or Municipal Code that prevents a roof deck, but we encourage applicants to rearrange the roof decks so they are not looking onto someone’s privacy,” Gordon advised.

A motion that findings could be made for the project passed 5-0-1.

Herschfield Residence

Unlike the projects approved, the Herschfield Residence project at 8230 Prestwick Drive is slated to return for another review. The project calls for the demolition of an existing 4,067-square-foot single-family house and construction of a 12,424-square-foot single-family house, including a garage. The project came before the La Jolla Shores Planned District Advisory Board earlier that day, but applicant’s representative Chandra Slaven said a resident attended and voiced concern about the project, prompting the applicants to take a step back.

“We want to work with the neighborhood, create renderings and produce other materials. It’s very important for us to build consensus, so we will come back as soon as we meet with the neighbors,” she said. When Slaven returns, she said she will create a visual representation of all the houses in the neighborhood to show how the proposed development will look with the existing community.

Bylaw Update

The board also voted to update its charter and create bylaws, to formalize election protocols, add a description for vice-chair and secretary, update the meeting date (the board used to meet fourth Tuesdays), define a quorum, and other items.

The only self-described “controversial” item was about the extent to which an applicant must recuse themselves if they are also a PRC trustee (there are two members in the architectural field currently on the board).

“When someone recuses themselves under the current charter, they have to leave the room and I think that’s in violation of the spirit of the Brown Act,” said Gordon. “If one of us were to present a project, and then has to leave the room, it makes it harder for us to ask questions, and makes it hard for the applicant to communicate with us.”

Vice-chair Andy Fotsch noted it creates a “different standard for any other applicant,” and added: “Any other applicant would get to hear the discussion, issues, etc. Why shouldn’t we?”

Gordon said: “City Council policy states you have to leave the seating area, so you become a member of the audience, not a member of the committee. … All 42 other planning groups in the City of San Diego do not require you to leave the room (if you are a trustee and an applicant).”

Trustee Tony Crisafi noted trustee/applicants historically do not leave during sub-committee deliberation because “this is where we roll up our sleeves and do the work.”

As such, a motion to update the charter with the new recusal rules passed 4-1-0.

— La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets (pending items to review), 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.