Development Permit Review Committee nixes Kolmar Street 2-house project

A rendering depicts a proposed residential development at 304 and 306 Kolmar St. in Windansea.

After an hour and a half of discussion and vocal opposition from neighbors, La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee voted May 19 to reject a residential project in the Windansea area.

The proposal, presented by architect Tim Golba, calls for a coastal development permit to demolish a house that sits across two lots and build a pair of two-story houses at 304-306 Kolmar St. One would be 2,229 square feet and the other 2,244 square feet. The applicant would live in one of the homes and sell the other.

When the project was initially heard May 12 (DPR meets the second and third Tuesdays of each month), trustees and neighbors had concerns about privacy, community character and a proposed carport.

Addressing concerns about design elements, Golba said the roof plans were changed from flat to sloped to preserve privacy.

“In areas where we had 42-inch guardrails and a roof deck, we were able to bring in sloped roofs to bring in some more of the angular nature of our bookending neighbors,” he said. “The intent being to push away from the immediate neighbor to preserve her privacy.”

Additionally, large windows and glass walls were reduced, he said.

The carport was criticized by trustees and neighbors who said the sides could be filled in to become a garage. But Golba said, “There is a [development] code section that allows for accessory structures to be located in the rear and side yard setbacks … and allows a detached carport on lots under 10,000 square feet.”

Kolmar Street resident Julie Ruef gave a presentation in opposition, and several other neighbors spoke out during public comments, largely addressing the issue of community character.

Ruef said she lives in one of the original houses in that area and that the proposed development would negatively affect the feel of the neighborhood.

“We have a mix of styles and original character in the neighborhood,” she said. “We have beach cottages and Mediterranean-style houses. [The character of the community] is not yet a modern-dominant architecture. We’re tipping the scale with this project.”

She said the development also would block wind and sun and natural shade to her house.

Neighbor Tom Miller said: “I don’t know how you can remove one house and put two boxes and say it fits with bulk and scale. If we keep going this way, we are going to end up like Mission Beach, and people don’t come to The Jewel for what’s in Mission Beach.”

Though trustees voiced agreement with concerns about community character and bulk and scale, DPR Chairman Brian Will cautioned the board to rely on applicable code to guide its decision.

“The La Jolla Community Plan tells us how to measure bulk and scale,” Will said. “It’s not up to us to say there is a small house next door so the bulk and scale of anything but a small house is too big. What we talk about is the code. … People buy properties based on the current rules, and to deny a property owner his property rights because you don’t like the rules is not this committee’s job. … It’s not to hold a project accountable to rules we wish existed.”

Nevertheless, a motion that findings cannot be made to support a coastal development permit passed 6-0, based on the project not meeting the requirements in the La Jolla Community Plan as it relates to transition and scale, issues with the carport and vegetation not being consistent with the neighborhood. Will abstained, as the chair typically votes only to break a tie.

The findings will be forwarded to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

Other DPR news

Bellava residence: A project that DPR trustees called “smart” and “handsome” got the green light May 19. The Bellava residence project at 7306 Draper Ave. calls for a tentative map, site development permit and coastal development permit to demolish a house, subdivide the lot into two and build a new 3,615-square-foot residence on the south lot and a 3,470-square-foot home on the north lot.

A rendering shows the Bellava residence project planned for 7306 Draper Ave.

In response to the committee’s recommendations at a preliminary review May 12, architect Jennifer Bolyn changed the color scheme to “warmer” cream and brown tones.

She noted the neighborhood has “eclectic” styles of houses. “We have some lower-scale lots of original beach cottages and higher-scale development” and others in the general area that are similar in design.

The landscape plan calls for new trees, along with vegetation that can grow to be a hedge that preserves privacy but keeps the view open.

Neighbor Andreas Koester said he initially was concerned about the project when he saw it would be two roughly 3,500-square-foot houses. “That seemed to exceed what you would typically find on Draper,” he said.

“But I have to say I am very pleased and reassured by the plans presented today and look forward to having these buildings in our neighborhood,” he added.

A motion that findings can be made to support permits passed 6-0, with Will abstaining.

Eads companion unit: Though it was slated for preliminary review and not guaranteed a vote, review was made final and approved for a project calling for a coastal development permit to convert part of a 2,670-square-foot, two-story house into a two-story, 894-square-foot companion unit at 7388 Eads Ave.

With only minor questions from the committee, trustees voted 6-0 that findings can be made to support the project, with Will abstaining.

Next meeting: La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, via Zoom. Learn more at