La Jolla permit reviewers approve two home projects and dispute design plan for addition to historic house

La Jolla's Development Permit Review Committee approved plans to add to this property at 5692 Dolphin Place.
La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee approved plans to add to this property at 5692 Dolphin Place.

Two Bird Rock residential projects got the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee’s approval on the first try during the board’s March 9 meeting.

Any preliminary review can be made final by a unanimous vote, which allows the board to make a recommendation on the project. Such was the case for a proposal to add a 444-square-foot unit to a house at 5692 Dolphin Place and a plan to build an accessory dwelling unit, or “granny flat,” at 5550 La Jolla Hermosa Ave.

However, the board disagreed with the San Diego Historical Resources Board on to how to proceed with a possible addition to a historically designated property in the Lower Hermosa area.

Dolphin Place residence

The planned remodel of a 2,479-square-foot house at 5692 Dolphin includes a 444-square-foot addition containing a study and two bathrooms, applicant Mark Tuszynski said.

The original proposal was to add 1,300 square feet, “but after many dealings with the [California] Coastal Commission, we are down to 444 square feet and one story,” he said.

The addition “will be placed entirely within an existing dirt portion of the yard between the garage and the house … and will have a minimal impact on the view from the street,” according to Tuszynski. The location currently is a courtyard with a basketball hoop for the family children.

With questions only about the staging of construction equipment and whether mature trees on the property would be preserved — which the applicant said would be “up to the builder” — a motion to make the preliminary review final passed unanimously, as did a motion to support the project.

La Jolla Hermosa ADU

Plans to demolish a 489-square-foot detached garage and build a new detached 789-square-foot accessory dwelling unit above a new 666-square-foot garage at 5550 La Jolla Hermosa also passed.

Applicant Marcos Vanorden de Assis, representing the family that owns the house, said the existing garage in the back of the house is facing an alley and that the new addition would be seen only from that alley. The original plan was to build the unit on top of the existing garage, but in researching the development, it was determined the existing garage would not support the unit.

The alley-facing side of 5550 La Jolla Hermosa Ave., where a new accessory dwelling unit is planned above a new garage.
This is the alley-facing side of 5550 La Jolla Hermosa Ave., where an accessory dwelling unit is planned to be built above a new garage.

Vanorden de Assis said the homeowners intend to have one of their parents live in the ADU. “It’s a comfortable one-bedroom … kitchen, living room, one-bathroom unit” with “the siding matching the existing house,” he said.

A motion to make the preliminary review final passed unanimously, as did findings to support the project.

Historic house discussion

The DPR Committee did not lend its support to a proposed addition to a historically designated house at 391 Via del Norte because of design limitations placed on the applicants by the San Diego Historical Resources Board.

Plans are to demolish a non-historic structure that houses pool-related equipment and build a new 642-square-foot companion unit attached to a historically designated 1928 house designed by master architects Herbert Mann and Thomas Shepherd.

Applicants Paul and Sarai Johnson said the Historical Resources Board denied a design for the addition that was similar to the existing house, insisting on a design that differentiated the addition from the house.

However, DPR trustee Diane Kane said that with the new limitations, it is a “tall and unarticulated massing.” As a previous HRB member, she offered to speak to staff members to see if there’s any flexibility in their recommendation, which is based on their interpretation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

DPR trustee John Fremdling echoed criticism that the addition doesn’t match the rest of the house. “More things need to match the original house,” he said. “If someone owned this house that was a real Tom Shepherd purist, the first thing they would do is demolish this [proposed] addition because it doesn’t match.”

DPR Chairman Brian Will said, “I think this applicant is capable of designing an addition that would expertly blend with the original house, but their hands are tied right now.”

Trustees agreed to speak to HRB staff and report back during a future DPR meeting, possibly as early as Tuesday, March 16.

The DPR meets the second and third Tuesdays of each month. The next meeting begins at 4 p.m. March 16. Learn more at ◆