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Shores Permit Review Committee approves new home with ‘maximum’ setbacks; asks another to return

A rendering shows the design for 2989 Woodford Drive that was green-lighted by the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee.
A rendering shows the design for 2989 Woodford Drive that was green-lighted by the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee on Sept. 20.
(Courtesy of Leticia Bonnet)

One new house project in La Jolla Shores was green-lighted while another drew concerns at the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee’s Sept. 20 meeting online.

The Astalos residence, a new 5,924-square-foot home proposed for a vacant lot at 2989 Woodford Drive in the La Jolla Heights neighborhood, garnered positive responses from the PRC.

Speaking for the application, Leticia Bonnet said the proposed single-family residence is two stories on a 20,396-square-foot lot.

“We’re proposing a 59-foot front setback, a rear setback of 72 feet 9 inches, the right side 14 feet 3 inches and the left side 19 feet,” Bonnet said, with a total floor area ratio of 0.29. FAR is the measurement of a building’s floor area in relation to the size of the lot.

“We’re designing a Spanish Santa Barbara-style home,” Bonnet said.

The owner, Ari Astalos, said he spoke to most of the neighbors about his plans and that “they’ve all been very supportive.”

The landscaping plan includes fruit trees along the back portion of the yard, which Astalos said his rear neighbors prefer due to the added shade.

PRC trustee Larry Davidson commended the design’s “maximum setbacks.”

“It is so nice to have a beautiful project that fits a lot, doesn’t try to cram everything [in],” trustee Janie Emerson said.

A motion that findings can be made to support the proposal passed with no objections.

Paseo del Ocaso project

The space between this proposed building and the property line at 7951 Paseo del Ocaso concerned PRC trustees.
(Courtesy of Dave Darling)

Another proposal for The Shores, a request to demolish a single-family home and build a new 3,355-square-foot, two-story house in its place, did not lead to a vote. The PRC asked the applicants to address concerns, primarily with the setbacks at the property line, and return at a later date.

The existing house at 7951 Paseo del Ocaso is “dilapidated,” according to applicant representative Dave Darling, “contributing no historic resource.”

The planned replacement is a “home that is as much using the space outside as it is inside,” Darling said. It would have roof access, an attached two-car garage and a 0.46 floor area ratio.

The house is designed to be “sustainably minded,” he said, with mechanisms for collecting rainwater, using solar energy and creating a “stack effect so it can be naturally ventilated” through the stair hall.

PRC trustee Matt Edwards raised concerns about the space between the building and the property line, which is 1 foot at the northern edge of the property and 3 feet 2 inches at its tightest point on the south side. “It looks like it’s snuggled up real close to the property line,” Edwards said.

Emerson said she’s “concerned about the setbacks; they are not in conformity. … Setbacks are traditionally 4 feet on the sides.”

Applicant representative Chris DeHenzel said the San Diego municipal code states that “as long as there are no openings in those walls, then the 4-foot setback is flexible.”

Emerson said The Shores Planned District Ordinance “trumps the municipal code.”

“It’s a special neighborhood,” Edwards said.

Emerson added that the 30-foot walls along the side of the house would violate the PDO. “You can’t have 30-foot straight walls; the second story is supposed to be set back.”

In the past, Edwards said, architects have made the second story “inset or offset as little as six inches to provide the articulation.”

Trustee Ted Haas said “it appears to me that you guys need a lot that’s bigger for this house, at least four feet wider. It’s a great design, but the wrong lot.”

Darling said he would work on “understanding the nuances of the PDO.”

Roseland Drive vacation

The committee members also offered feedback on an informational presentation about a portion of Roseland Drive proposed to be vacated.

The vacation — which happens when the city of San Diego relinquishes a public right of way or public service easement to an adjacent property owner — would run along the property at 7902 Roseland and some of the property line at Torrey Pines Road.

The presentation was made 11 days after the San Diego Planning Commission voted to vacate part of Torrey Pines Road across the street and two blocks west of the Roseland property, vetoing the findings of the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

The house at 7902 Roseland is one of the oldest buildings in La Jolla, constructed in 1925, said applicant representative Michael Pallamary, and “was actually constructed on the right of way … with zero setback.”

The corners of the building encroach into the right of way, he said. “It’s privately owned property burdened with a public paper easement.”

He said the owner wants the vacation so “the building can observe conventional normal setbacks” and the owner can conduct repairs on the property “with room to work.”

Pallamary said the owner also would “maintain and create an enhanced walkway to get around [the property] so that people can traverse across the street.”

Haas said that “if we vacate that, it leaves that entire area open for development, regardless of any promises made today. Just because you have construction problems doesn’t mean there won’t be a garage or a mega mansion built that goes all the way to the street [with] less than normal setback.”

“So I have no sympathy with the owner who purchased the property knowing that it was not available for development,” Haas said.

“It’s valuable property, and this could just be the beginning of something a lot bigger, with what I see as minimal new benefit to the public,” Davidson said.

Some said the building might have historicity, which Pallamary said he would look into. Edwards and trustee John Shannon said a historical designation would affect the repairs or other work on the property should a vacation be approved.

Pallamary said there would be a formal presentation on the vacation request in the future.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18. For more information, visit ljcpa.org.