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Shores Permit Review Committee rejects El Paseo Grande home development

8455 El Paseo Grande in La Jolla
A plan to demolish a dwelling and build a new 4,967-square-foot residence at 8455 El Paseo Grande in La Jolla was voted down by the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee.
(Bing Maps / La Jolla Light)

Neither project that went before the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee at its meeting Aug. 17 got the desired approval. One was voted down, and consideration of the other was postponed due to noticing issues.

A proposal for 8455 El Paseo Grande was rejected. The plan calls for coastal development and site development permits for demolition of a dwelling and construction of a new 4,967-square-foot residence with a 3,000-square-foot basement and a subterranean garage.

When it was heard at the July PRC meeting, there were questions about the level and type of articulation. The designs call for the second level to cantilever over on one side, whereas recommendations in local design guidelines suggest that second levels step back. There were additional concerns about the size relative to neighboring houses, but the applicants did not have information about floor area ratios for surrounding properties and were asked to return with that. FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of land on which it is built.

On Aug. 17, applicant representative Leticia Bonnet offered a streetscape of all buildings in the area that have been built since 2000 and have a FAR of 0.8 to 1.06. Bonnet also noted that some of the cottages built in the 1960s have FARs as low as 0.3.

The FAR of the El Paseo Grande project is 0.8 (the basement is not included in the floor area ratio).

PRC trustee Myrna Naegle said the average FAR of the 42 houses in a 300-foot radius of the property is 0.55 and called the planned development a “monster house” due to its size.

Bonnet focused on newer houses, while trustees focused on smaller ones.

“I don’t think it’s fair to compare a project with houses built in the 1960s when we have these houses built in the 2000s,” Bonnet said. “The neighborhood is changing.”

She said neighbors had been informed of the project and there was no opposition. “We’re not trying to fool anyone; we’re not trying to hide this project,” she said.

One resident at the PRC meeting said she “didn’t have any complaints.”

However, when it came to overhangs that the board took issue with before, trustee Janie Emerson said it was “insulting” that they were unchanged.

“When you ask someone to work with you on something and you give them areas of concern and they say, ‘We didn’t do anything because we like the way it is,’ that is insulting,” Emerson said. “We gave you a list and you didn’t address any of them.”

A motion that findings could not be made to support the project passed 7-0.

Paseo del Ocaso project: After being pulled from the PRC agenda last month, a development proposed for 8405 Paseo del Ocaso was pulled again until more up-to-date noticing could be distributed.

8405 Paseo del Ocaso
A project proposed for 8405 Paseo del Ocaso, pictured, was not heard at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee’s Aug. 17 meeting due to issues with noticing.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The project calls for coastal development and site development permits to demolish a dwelling and construct a 4,430-square-foot two-story home to tie into an existing garage.

But before the matter could be heard, La Jolla Shores resident Peggy Davis asked that it be pulled from the agenda because of ongoing issues with noticing.

She said the original notice of application was sent in 2017 and that no more recent notice had been sent. “Since [2017], there have been at least seven new property owners within the 300-foot radius of the property … with information that may not reflect the plans that have been changed to date. There is confusion about the square footage [and] the city planner [assigned to this],” Davis said.

A representative of Island Architects, which is designing the property, indicated that a notice was posted in compliance with city rules and that people involved in the project had contacted the city to see if there was anything further they needed to do and were told they did not.

Speaking for the process rather than the project, Island Architects principal Tony Crisafi, a former PRC trustee, said a new notice would be posted on the site but that residents within 300 feet would not be mailed a new notice.

A motion to postpone the hearing until an up-to-date notice can be posted on the site and sent to neighbors within 300 feet passed 7-0.

La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee is on a mission to solve a long-standing issue when it comes to local development: notices of planned work that many consider insufficient or hard to follow.

La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee also is on a mission to solve the issue of construction notices that many consider insufficient or hard to follow. DPR members have been advocating changes to the notices themselves to include more understandable information and adding notices of when projects will be heard locally.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, via Zoom. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆