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Shores permit reviewers vote down Paseo del Ocaso home project after ‘confusing’ presentation

A rendering illustrates a development proposed for 8405 Paseo del Ocaso that the La Jolla Shores PRC voted down.
A rendering illustrates a development proposed for 8405 Paseo del Ocaso that the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee voted down during its Sept. 21 meeting.
(Courtesy)

The third time apparently was not the charm for a home project proposed for La Jolla Shores.

After two postponements due to what La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee members considered to be incomplete noticing, the development planned for 8405 Paseo del Ocaso got a hearing Sept. 21 but was voted down due to bulk and scale issues and lingering questions from trustees.

The project calls for coastal development and site development permits to demolish a single-family house and build a 4,430-square-foot, two-story single-family home to tie into an existing garage. The garage would be moved to the west (ocean-facing) side of the site and have a bedroom and terrace built above it, while the existing garage space would be converted to a kitchen.

The matter was postponed twice at board member requests because they said the city-required notice posted at the site contained out-of-date information.

When applicant representative Nick Wilson from Island Architects gave his presentation Sept. 21, trustees expressed confusion over numbers in the documents.

Speaking during public comments, La Jolla architect Phil Merten questioned the setbacks as compared with those in the vicinity, and how the heights and grade were measured.

“There is what appears to be a discrepancy [because] … the grade level is lower on the main floor plan than on the section drawing. The discrepancy needs to be reconciled,” he said.

PRC trustee Matt Edwards said he liked the overall design and that it was set back on the second floor, but he had issues with the “ambiguous” grading measurements. “There are a lot of mixed numbers here,” he said. “It’s confusing.”

Assisting with the presentation, Island Architects project manager Haley Duke assured that the discrepancy was reconciled but it may not have appeared so on the screen-sharing function of Zoom, on which the meeting was held.

Wilson said the corner lot would be composed of 46 percent building footprint, 36 percent landscaping and 18 percent hardscape and have a floor area ratio (the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of land on which it is built) of 0.78, including the garage. La Jolla Shores does not have a FAR maximum, but it is used as a barometer to compare a property with those around it in terms of bulk and scale.

“Of the 49 homes in the 300-foot radius of this property, 36 are below a 0.60 FAR. This property would be 0.78,” neighbor Peggy Davis said.

Some wanted the applicant to return with a clearer picture of the grading and setbacks, but Wilson opted for a vote instead. A motion that findings cannot be made to support the project, citing bulk and scale concerns, passed 5-2, with trustees Angie Preisendorfer and Ted Haas dissenting without comment and committee Chairman Andy Fotsch abstaining.

The findings proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification or additional review.

Other PRC news

Remodel gets green light: Though it was slated for a preliminary review — and not guaranteed a vote — a proposed home remodel on Prestwick Drive gained unanimous committee approval. The project calls for a site development permit to demolish 96 square feet and add 1,536 square feet to an existing 3,553-square-foot single-family residence at 8433 Prestwick.

A rendering depicts a remodel at 8433 Prestwick Drive that was approved by the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee.
(Courtesy)

Architect Tim Golba, representing the applicant, said much of the house would not change, except for the north side, where “the predominant portion of the addition is proposed,” and “virtually nothing [would change] in the front.” The frontage would be reduced slightly to accommodate the changes without adding bulk.

About 750 square feet would be added to each floor, for a 0.24 FAR as proposed.

The second-floor addition would provide a living space “where the view is much better,” Golba said. “And a roof deck located in the center of the house, so there is no chance of the [homeowners] intruding on the neighbors’ backyards or private space.”

A motion to approve the project, with the modification that the second floor be stepped back in accord with the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance, passed unanimously.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets (pending items to review) at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆