Historical Resources Board approves move of 1913 La Jolla cottage

The historic Lillian Lentell house is at 7762 Bishops Lane in La Jolla.

Although the tiny house at 7762 Bishops Lane in La Jolla has been designated historic since 2012, it was a topic for consideration by the San Diego Historical Resources Board during its Nov. 19 meeting online.

The Lillian Lentell house was designated historic as a resource that exemplifies La Jolla’s early Beach Cottage development, with a period of significance of 1913-15.

A plan has come forward to move the house about 30 feet to adjacent property at 817 Silverado St. HRB members were asked to weigh in this week on measures intended to reduce the move’s impact on the house.

Project manager Martha Blake said the proposal to relocate the house “is considered a substantial alteration … of a historical resource” and therefore requires a site development permit and mitigation measures. Among them is restoring it to its original character.

“The treatment plan that is required for the project addresses the foundation, framing and other finishes, windows, plumbing and any reconstruction,” Blake said. “A qualified historical or architectural historian has been retained by the applicant to ensure all work is consistent with all the mitigation measures.”

She said parts of the cottage would be dismantled and rebuilt “with as much of the original material as feasible,” including the front porch and the chimney.

According to a city report associated with the project, “the relocation of the cottage would create a complex of two coastal beach cottages, visually linked by a two-car garage with studio above, into one continuous beach cottage complex facing Bishops Lane, while also fronting onto Silverado Street. An outside stairway will separate the cottage from the proposed garage and studio addition between. Additionally, the proposed project would provide more parking on the ‘donor parcel’ and prepare the site for future development.”

According to the report, city staff agreed that the proposed mitigation measures and permit conditions provided to the HRB “are sufficient to reduce the identified impacts to the Lillian Lentell cottage” and recommended approval of the measures.

HRB member and La Jolla resident Courtney Coyle said she was “glad that the house will be saved and will be in close proximity to its existing location” but that she was concerned about whether the addition of the garage and studio would cause the cottage to fade away among the other developments.

“There are a number of small cottages in La Jolla … that have been built upon, and by the time they are done, it looks like a modern mansion and it loses its scale and feel of those structures,” she said. “Here, we’ve got two structures and it wasn’t 100 percent clear to me in the designs how the structures would be connected, the articulation between the pieces. ...

“I support what’s being presented to us. I just had some questions about the overall design and wanting to respect those unique spaces and those structures. … I hope for the best, but I’ve seen structures disappear ... within the new construction, and I hope that doesn’t happen here.”

Acting board Chairman Tim Hutter said: “It is nice to see a receiving site that is in such close proximity. Sometimes we see these structures move across town and we see a loss of integrity.”

HRB trustees unanimously supported the staff recommendation.

The board next meets at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, online. It isn’t yet known whether any La Jolla properties will be reviewed. ◆