La Jolla permit reviewers fast-track two projects, hear 50 percent-rule nightmare

A 50-percent-rule nightmare ends 100 percent happily for applicant’s rep Tim Golba.

Three projects were approved — including two preliminary reviews that were fast-tracked — at the Sept. 10 La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee meeting.

5550 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.

Applicant’s rep Tim Golba sought and received DPR’s approval for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to remodel an existing two-story residence with new rear and roof decks at 5550 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.

“The reason that we’re here, unfortunately, is that we had a rookie contractor who has never worked in a coastal zone before,” Golba said, explaining that only 38 percent of the structure was scheduled to be demolished. But then the framer started replacing the framing, according to Golba, exceeding the 50-percent rule and triggering the need for a CDP.

Said trustee Mike Costello: “This is costing the client a lot more money now.”

Golba corrected him: “It’s costing the framer a lot more money. He’s on the hook for this.”

DPR voted unanimously both to fast-track and approve the project.

“This is the classic cautionary tale about playing games with your 50 percent,” said trustee Greg Jackson “Hopefully, people will learn from this. It would have made so much more sense just to go for a CDP at the outset.”

1401 Muirlands Drive

Also fast-tracked and unanimously approved was applicant’s rep Matt Peterson’s bid for a Neighborhood Development Permit (NDP) allowing a six-foot chain-link fence and eight-foot landscape hedge within a dedicated easement and right-of-way at 1401 Muirlands Drive.

The hedge, which was put in two years ago, and the fence are in a right-of-way the City acquired for street/sidewalk widening years ago that was never done. So the owners require the NDP and an Encroachment Maintenance and Removal Agreement because, according to Peterson, someone filed a complaint. “I didn’t want to burden you with this,” Peterson said. “It seems silly.”

290-298 Playa Del Sur St.

The fifth DPR presentation was the charm for applicant’s rep Robert Bateman, who finally received a CDP and Tentative Map to create four residential and two commercial condominium units for his client’s building, the Bird Rock Condos, at 5656 La Jolla Blvd. The project was previously approved by DPR and is under construction. But it was approved as apartments, and the committee was concerned about how public and private space would be delineated in the condo conversion. All those questions were satisfactorily addressed and the motion passed unanimously.

Also at DPR

6515 Neptune Place: Applicant’s rep Scott Frantz made the preliminary presentation for the Rau Residence Project, which seeks a CDP to demolish an existing single-family residence and construct a new 3,960 square-foot, two-story house at 6515 Neptune Place.

The committee was concerned about issues including glare from a glass wall across the street and the width of the sidewalk. (Neptune is already narrow, so wider sidewalks are preferable.)

Frantz was asked to return with a photo montage of homes (adjacent and across street), a larger aerial photo, a study of glass glare and other items.

643 Bonair St.: Applicant’s rep Mark Lyon presented his case for a CDP to add a new 474 square-foot companion unit to an existing 76-square-foot laundry room at 643 Bonair St.

The garage was already converted into a living space sometime between 1932 and 1965 and has been used as one ever since. Only after a new neighbor moved in and complained, according to Lyon, did it become an issue. Prior to 1945, there were no codes requiring homeowners to obtain a permit to convert a garage to a living space.

However, it can’t be determined if the conversion was made before or after 1945 because the City has no permit records prior to 1955. (“This is a great expense to correct the City’s lost plans,” said Costello.)

The rep was instructed to return to DPR with aerial photos and a sketch showing the arrangements of windows and doors on the elevations of the house, among other deliverables.

— La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 8 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.