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Community Planning Association wants permit revoked for La Jolla project after stop-work order is issued

A stop-work order has been issued for a home development project at 1395 W. Muirlands Drive in La Jolla.
(File)

A home development project on West Muirlands Drive that has been subject to a construction violation notice and a stop-work order is getting another document associated with it: a letter from the La Jolla Community Planning Association seeking revocation of the development’s building permit.

Last summer, the city of San Diego sent the owner of the property at 1395 W. Muirlands a civil penalty notice outlining violations that needed to be corrected before work could proceed, including “construction and demolition without required permits.”

The Community Planning Association describes the project as a remodel and addition with guest quarters.

In the months following the notice, the violations were corrected and work was permitted to resume, city spokesman Scott Robinson said.

However, other issues have since been brought to the city’s attention and a stop-work order was issued for the property in February, he said.

The order states the project is “out of compliance with the scope of work identified in the approved building permit” by demolishing more than 50 percent of the original walls.

Robinson said the stop-work order is for construction associated with the house itself but that the city “did allow the owner to install weather protection on the house to protect the structure” and continue to work on the pool area.

The homeowner, Israel Dahan, told the La Jolla Light that “this project will be my house; I have five kids and … we are trying to move to La Jolla. This is not for sale, this is going to be our home.”

But architect Michael Morton, speaking for a neighbor during LJCPA’s April 1 meeting, said the so-called 50 percent rule — which allows developers to bypass the costly and time-consuming coastal development permit process if they retain at least 50 percent of the original walls — “has been violated since the beginning of this project.”

He asked LJCPA to send a letter supporting the stop-work order and seeking revocation of the building permit issued for the project.

“The intent of the letter is to recommend to the city that the applicant stop the work, go through the process and get a coastal development permit,” which would require a review by LJCPA, Morton said.

A motion to send the letter passed unanimously.

However, Dahan said less than 50 percent of the existing structure has been removed and said Morton’s claim is inaccurate and fueled by neighbors who are “mad that their views might get blocked.”

He contended he does not need a coastal development permit and that the project “complies with [codes from] every single city department.”

A draft of the LJCPA letter posted at lajollacpa.org reads in part: “The La Jolla Community Planning Association supports the request to revoke a building permit that was issued for ... 1395 W. Muirlands Drive in the community of La Jolla. … Strong and timely actions are of utmost importance to correct safety hazards and to discourage rogue behavior. The LJCPA therefore urges permit revocations as soon as possible. Furthermore, decisive responses uphold respect for the San Diego municipal code and the rule of law, as well as sustain community trust that regulatory standards and processes will be upheld.”

Other LJCPA news

Board members sworn in: After a by-mail election by association members, six board members were chosen in March, five of whom were sworn in during the April 1 meeting. They are Diane Kane (the current president), Zuzana Hostomska, Glen Rasmussen, Jodi Rudick and Brian Will. City Councilman Joe LaCava, a former LJCPA trustee, administered the oath of office. Trustee John Shannon was not present and will be sworn in at the next meeting.

La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees meet April 1 online.
(Courtesy)

Officers were elected, and for each position, there was only one candidate: Kane for president, Greg Jackson for vice president, Will for second vice president, Suzanne Weissman for secretary and Bob Steck for treasurer. All were approved unanimously.

UCSD update: UC San Diego’s assistant director of communications and community planning, Anu Delouri, provided an update on the university’s ill-received La Jolla Innovation Center project, saying the final environmental impact report is being prepared to go before the UC Board of Regents next month for consideration.

UC San Diego’s planned La Jolla Innovation Center got a chilly reception from members of the La Jolla Community Planning Association when plans were presented during the group’s March 4 meeting.

The Innovation Center is a proposed seven-story building at the intersection of Villa La Jolla Drive and La Jolla Village Drive at the former site of Rock Bottom Brewery. It would include five levels of UCSD Health Sciences and Extension uses, two levels of above-grade parking and two levels of subterranean parking. It is planned to have about 110,000 square feet of office and educational space, a ground-floor cafe accessible to the public and about 275 parking spaces. Construction would begin this summer, with completion in 2023.

When the project was introduced to them in March, LJCPA trustees critiqued the design and one called the proposed size “appallingly bad.”

Given the negative feedback, new trustee Glen Rasmussen asked if there was any “reasonable chance” the board could provide input on the design so it wouldn’t be so “boxy and massive” and be “more representative of UCSD.”

Delouri said she could not commit to any design change but added, “We have heard your comments about the project, we hear you and will take those comments back and review them internally.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆