DPR approves companion unit at La Jolla property and slates 3 other projects for return visit

La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee approved a companion unit for this property at 5623 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Only one of four projects that went before La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee on April 21 got the green light.

The three others, slated for preliminary reviews, were not guaranteed a vote and will return at a future meeting.

By a 6-1-1 vote, with Chairman Brian Will abstaining and trustee Michael Costello opposing without comment, the committee determined that findings could be made for a coastal development permit to convert an accessory structure into a companion unit at 5623 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.

Architect Michael Morton, representing the applicant, said that like other houses in the area, the property has a garage in the rear. When the house was remodeled, the garage was converted to an office.

“That garage/office will be converted into a single-story companion unit,” Morton said, and the city of San Diego has already determined that it complies with applicable regulations.

“The general purpose of this accessory dwelling unit is the family has a 92-year-old mother living in assisted care and would like to move her to their home,” he said. The companion unit would be remodeled to mirror the main house.

The committee’s recommendation proceeds to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for further discussion or ratification. LJCPA will meet at 6 p.m. May 7 via the Zoom video conferencing platform. Visit for more information.

Salvagio residence preliminary review

Applicants for the Salvagio residence project seek a coastal development permit and site development permit to demolish a bluffside residence and build a new two-story residence, including a garage, a carport, decks and balconies at 411 Sea Ridge Road. The new development, at 5,067 square feet, would be more than double the size of the existing 2,002-square-foot house.

Kevin Lyon, speaking for the homeowner, said the new house would not extend beyond the existing footprint in the rear and would create more side setbacks to increase the view to the ocean.

Raising some eyebrows, he added that the aesthetic would be Craftsman style in the front and transition to a Modern style toward the back. For example, there would be a pitched roof in the front and a flat roof with solar panels and a rooftop terrace in the back.

Addressing comments that the design looked like it had a “split personality,” Lyon said: “The big thing was the transition. With all that glass in the back of the house we wanted to have, it didn’t really fit with the style of the front of the house, so we transitioned it to the back of the house. That way, from the ocean, the look would be one way and the front of the house would fit more with the character of the street.”

DPR trustee Angeles Leira said she has a “real problem” with “these terraces we keep putting on top of buildings” and said she wanted to see how the deck would be visible to surrounding areas, especially immediate neighbors.

Will added that the board conventionally has issues with rooftop terraces because “they rarely get used but they compromise neighbors’ privacy” and asked the applicant to reconsider its inclusion in the design.

Citing additional concerns with the proposed carport and how it would look from the street, potential view impacts and issues with bluff erosion, the applicant agreed to return with a geological report (due to its proximity to the bluff), a landscape plan, a photo from the beach below, a rendering of what the vehicle gates and fencing would look like, how the roof decks would relate to the neighbors and a materials board for the exterior.

Caraher residence preliminary review

In a twist, the preliminary review for the Caraher residence at 1136 Muirlands Drive had little to do with the house.

The applicant seeks a coastal development permit for a new two-story, single-family residence with a basement, an attached three-car garage and new site retaining walls.

Architect Tim Martin described the aesthetic as “a farmhouse look … with white stucco and black steel and shallow pitched roofs.” However, the house is 10 feet below street level, so little would be publicly visible.

Noting that there is no public parking on the street in that area, leaving many to put driveways in the front, he said the driveways and garages would be on the west side of the property. “We’re preserving the front yard to be a more usable landscaped area rather than all driveway, and hiding the garages along the side,” he said.

The planned removal of a cluster of tall palm trees was of concern to trustee Leira. Committee members also expressed a desire that a retaining wall at the base of the property be uniform with neighboring houses.

The applicant was asked to return with a landscape plan, retaining wall details and a materials board to show what would be used on the exterior of the house.

Conant residence preliminary review

The Conant residence project calls for a CDP to demolish a residence and build a new three-story, two-unit residence with a basement garage, roof deck and driveway at 420 Pearl St.

Architect Drew Hubbell said the house would be of contemporary Mediterranean style with white stucco and clay tile accent roofs, an arched entryway and street trees. There also would be roof decks, underground parking and an elevator.

Leira applauded the design because it “matches some of the older buildings in that section of the community. The fit is just right. I even like the placement of the terraces!”

The applicant was asked to return with a layout of windows to show they would align to assure privacy, a landscape plan and additional information as to how the elevator would operate in relation to the units.

The three projects under preliminary review will return at a date of the applicants’ choosing. La Jolla’s DPR Committee meets at 4 p.m. the second and third Tuesdays of each month. Those who wish to attend meetings virtually can visit for details. ◆