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La Jolla committee OKs home construction project in Country Club area after lengthy debate

A rendering depicts a project proposed for 7342 Remley Place in La Jolla.
(Courtesy)

For almost two hours Aug. 18, the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee facilitated a debate about a house construction project on a small street in the Country Club area before ultimately approving it 5-0.

The proposal for 7342 Remley Place calls for a coastal development permit to demolish a 1,608-square-foot house and construct a new 4,085-square-foot house. Some neighbors argued about the size of the house, the neighborhood character and the safety of a proposed garage’s location. Others spoke in favor of the project.

The designs call for vehicle access to the house facing Remley, a short street with only 10 houses on it, and another garage and driveway facing Romero Court, which intersects with Remley, “to provide additional parking and lessen the parking impacts for the area,” said architect Trip Bennett.

“The idea was, because we have two front streets and no rear yard, to bury the garage and blend it into the hillside. Visually, it will not make any impacts. But yes, people will be able to back out onto Romero from the driveway,” he said.

Romero Court feeds into Romero Drive, which has hairpin turns, so some residents questioned the safety of backing out into the street.

Additional criticism was raised about the size of the development.

Neighbor Scott Manoogian said it would be an “eyesore” too tall for the neighborhood.

A letter against the project was signed by four of Remley’s 10 homeowners.

Attorney Matt Peterson, representing the applicants, said the letter contained “misinformation” about the project’s size in relation to others on the block.

He said houses on Remley have a mix of sizes and architectural styles — “some two- and three-story houses, some big, some very big and some smaller ones.” The development in question, he said, is “slightly higher than the middle” in square footage.

He added that construction on the project will be “phased in” and that the area that has to be excavated will be used for staging of construction equipment to minimize disruption.

Speaking in support of the project, La Jolla Historical Society board President Suzanne Sette said, “I feel strongly about preserving the character of La Jolla … there is nothing out of character with the home, in my opinion.” She said the owners have “bent over backward” to accommodate the neighbors.

Bennett added that the owners specifically asked to keep the views of surrounding homeowners in mind when designing the house.

A motion to approve the project passed 5-0. It proceeds to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification.

Other DPR news

Street vacation rejected: A proposal to vacate a portion of Torrey Pines Road near 1802 and 1834 Amalfi St., 1821 Torrey Pines Road and 7840 Sierra Mar Drive was voted down, with trustees citing potential future uses for the street.

Vacate typically means a government transfers the right of way of a public street to a private property owner.

DPR trustee Mike Costello said that “in looking toward the future, something may have to be done on Torrey Pines Road, and since there is right-of-way possibilities on both sides of the street, this could be used for a turnout or turn-in for buses. Releasing this property is not a good idea.”

A motion against the right-of-way vacation passed 4-1, with trustee Greg Jackson dissenting without comment.

Lower Hermosa project coming back: Due to questions about the process to connect two lots, a project that would demolish two residences and construct a new 9,181-square-foot home at 6375 Avenida Cresta and 6360 Via Maria will return at a future DPR meeting.

Work would include site walls, new driveways and tying the two lots together.

Haley Duke from Island Architects said the development would yield a single-family residence with a two-car garage and an accessory dwelling unit with a two-car garage. The applicants have gone through proper review at the city, she said.

DPR next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, via Zoom (pending items to review). Learn more at lajollacpa.org.