Weddings continue at Lower Hermosa house amid investigation into legality

Ville Sur Mer at 6276 Camino de la Costa has been rented out as a venue for weddings and other events.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

While an investigation by the city of San Diego continues into the legality of the operation, weddings continue to be held at the Ville Sur Mer property in a residential neighborhood in La Jolla’s Lower Hermosa area.

A complaint was filed the first week of August against Ville Sur Mer, which rents out the oceanfront house at 6276 Camino de la Costa as a venue for weddings and other events. A code enforcement investigation was launched soon after.

A city of San Diego investigation is underway into commercial operations reportedly taking place at a house in La Jolla’s Lower Hermosa neighborhood.

In the weeks that followed, weddings continued to be held there, prompting some in the area to reach out to city offices such as those of Mayor Todd Gloria, City Attorney Mara Elliott and Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

“Nothing has happened,” said Jamison Ginsberg. “I can’t really understand why. This is clearly a violation.”

She reported seeing hazards on the site that put “lives in danger,” such as an ungated pool, use of candles surrounded by flammable plants and a narrow set of stairs that guests would have to use in case of a fire. Ginsberg said she relayed photos from weekend events and reports from neighbors to city representatives.

Ginsberg said she hopes Ville Sur Mer “shuts down” because “it is a business operating in a residential area.”

The complaint filed in August alleged a zoning violation and an “unpermitted business in a residential zone.”

City representatives said the investigation is “ongoing.” They added that the city has been in contact with the property owners but no notices of violation have been filed.

LaCava representative Steve Hadley previously said the councilman was “waiting for a report from the investigation.”

Representatives of Ville Sur Mer did not respond to the La Jolla Light’s request for comment.

A photo taken in late October shows a company unloading party equipment at Ville Sur Mer.
A photo taken in late October shows a company unloading party equipment at Ville Sur Mer.
(Courtesy of Ed Quinn)

Nearby resident Ed Quinn said the weddings have slowed since the weather has gotten cooler, but before that, weddings and other parties were happening “one or two a week.”

“The staging starts the day before, when a couple of big trucks come in to unload everything from heat lamps to chairs and goes on and off throughout the day,” Quinn said. “At a typical wedding, people show up around 2 p.m. the day of and park all up and down the street. It becomes impossible to park in front of your own house. They go in, and as the sun starts to go down, the music starts. Sometimes it’s a DJ; they’ve had drummers or a band. You can hear it up and down the street.”

He said the volume is “not overwhelming” but “noticeable.”

Once the wedding is over, it takes about an hour for everyone to disperse, Quinn said. “Around 11 p.m. or so, other big trucks arrive to break down what has been delivered. That can go until 1 or 2 a.m. on a typical day.”

Concern over the city’s investigation led one couple who were slated to have a wedding at Ville Sur Mer to relocate the ceremony.

“We decided to go elsewhere; just couldn’t get guarantees that the venue was clear to host weddings,” the groom said. “It was all enough to unnerve us, especially considering the financial commitment. They also said they were hoping to do fewer weddings this [coming] year.”

The company says the house has “unique coastal accents with a sophisticated Californian ambiance” that “comfortably accommodates up to 160 guests for a formal sit-down event and 200 guests for a standing cocktail event.”

Its website says the house boasts a collection of more than 100 surfboards. The base rate is $9,500 for up to 50 guests, climbing to $14,500 for up to 200 guests. ◆