Previously rejected Paseo del Ocaso home plan gets OK from Shores committee; 2 other projects are voted down

A rendering depicts a proposed home development at 8405 Paseo del Ocaso (right), as seen from Paseo del Ocaso looking east.
A rendering depicts a proposed home development at 8405 Paseo del Ocaso (right), as seen from Paseo del Ocaso looking east.

It was almost three strikes at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee meeting Jan. 18, when two of the three projects the board heard were voted down.

The only one to get the green light was a plan to demolish a single-family dwelling and build a 4,430-square-foot, two-story single-family home at 8405 Paseo del Ocaso, one block from Kellogg Park.

The development had been voted down last year by the PRC and the La Jolla Community Planning Association but returned to the PRC for another review.

Haley Duke of Island Architects in La Jolla said revisions were made following the previous reviews, including decreasing the size and modifying and clearing up confusion about the arrangement of the house.

“At the very early stage of this project, the garage was proposed to remain, but that developed over the course of community review,” she said. “There had been some discussion about the setback on the proposed garage compared to the existing. To be clear, the project now proposes to demolish every structure on the site and start construction anew, [and] the garage is proposed to be located on Paseo del Ocaso.”

Duke said the setbacks in the development conform with eight other houses in the area, with “a greater setback than all but one.”

The only points of contention from committee members this week were the city’s request that street trees be planted, which some argued would block public views, and a trellis on the roof, which trustee Janie Emerson called “ugly as sin.”

Some asked that the trellis be removed, but PRC Chairman Andy Fotsch warned: “It’s actually better to have that trellis because it is a permanent structure that [is counted in structure height and] keeps the overall height of the structure down. If the trellis came down, the whole building height could increase by many more feet and umbrellas could be posted there that are not counted in the height limit.”

Duke said she would look at ways to “make it beautiful.”

A rendering of the proposed development at 8405 Paseo del Ocaso (left), as seen from Camino del Oro.

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed 5-1, with trustee Myrna Naegle in opposition, citing concern with the size and the setbacks and how they compare with those of the adjacent property.

Other PRC news

El Paseo Grande development denied: A project to demolish a house and build a new 5,946-square-foot, two-story home with a basement parking garage at 8561 El Paseo Grande was denied, with committee members citing issues with bulk and scale.

At just over 29 feet tall — where 30 feet is the maximum allowed — the development is “just too high for my approval,” Naegle said.

With La Jolla Shores having no maximum floor-area ratio (the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of its lot), the area’s development guidelines call for 30 percent of a property to be landscaped. Applicant representative Claude-Anthony Marengo said there would be “living walls” of vertical vegetation at 8561 El Paseo Grande in addition to the 30 percent on the ground.

But Emerson, echoing Naegle’s concerns, said, “I still have problems with the size.”

Trustee Matt Edwards expressed concern that the neighbors would be “living in a shadow” based on the size and that, while he liked the project, he, too, had a problem with the “bulk and scale.”

A motion that findings cannot be made to support the project passed unanimously.

Caminito Maritimo remodel denied: Also drawing concerns about size, a project to redevelop a 4,771-square-foot condominium at 8216 Caminito Maritimo and expand it to 7,194 square feet was denied.

The project was first considered in 2009, when the PRC approved it. The La Jolla Woods Homeowners Association followed in 2010 and then the city in 2011. But work was delayed by the owner’s health issues and the permits expired.

Roger Sammon of Island Architects said the neighborhood consists of single-family condos that were built in a similar style, with more recent redevelopment following the La Jolla Woods HOA guidelines. Therefore, he said, precedent had been set in terms of massing and design as viewed from the street. Sammon said there would be no change from the existing building height.

On the side not facing the street, the remodel would include a terrace and a 29½-foot retaining wall, which “will provide a more permanent structure for the terrace, with landscaping at the top of the wall,” Sammon said. “This neighborhood is above Pottery Canyon, and fire safety has been a priority for the neighborhood, with concerns of fire crawling up from the open space. So the retaining wall and the pool in this project are better for fire safety and slows the spread and protects against erosion.” The retaining wall is proposed six feet from the main house so as not to be counted in the overall structure height.

However, La Jolla architect Phil Merten argued that the design doesn’t conform with the La Jolla Shores Design Manual and would be visually obtrusive from the viewpoint of Torrey Pines Road and Pottery Canyon. “This is an unfortunate landform that will be seen by so much of the community but it will not be seen by the owners within this development,” Merten said.

Naegle agreed, saying the height of the retaining wall “would damage the view of the hillside” and would be “an eyesore.”

A motion that findings cannot be made to support the project due to its bulk and scale passed unanimously.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets (pending items to review) at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, online. Learn more at ◆