La Jolla development permit reviewers approve Bird Rock accessory dwelling

Members of the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee and others meet Dec. 14.
Members of the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee and others meet Dec. 14.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The DPR Committee also asks applicants for projects in The Village and the Muirlands neighborhood to return with more information.


The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee lent its support to construction of an accessory dwelling unit on a Bird Rock property that currently has a 1940s house designed by a master builder.

Scott Bentley, the applicant for the project at 5655 La Jolla Hermosa Ave., said during the committee’s Dec. 14 meeting that “we have a 1947 original garage that needs attention, and we propose to renovate it while enlarging its footprint by about just over 100 square feet and adding a 470-square-foot apartment on top of it.”

He said the house is located midblock with an unpaved alley that runs the length of the block, with no houses or garages facing the proposed development.

“The house was constructed by the Severin Construction Co., run by Louise Severin,” Bentley said. “She built hundreds of houses in San Diego and Los Angeles, some of which still stand today.”

According to the San Diego Historical Resources Board, Severin worked throughout the city but her “most mature period” was spent in the Kensington and Talmadge areas. In 1945, Severin and her family formed Severin Construction, and she continued to design and build houses until her death in 1949 at age 57.

The La Jolla Hermosa house was modified in 2003 by adding a master suite and therefore is not eligible for historic designation.

Still, Bentley said the architecture of the garage/ADU would complement the house.

Any DPR preliminary review can be made final by a unanimous vote if there are no further questions or requests for more information, which was the case for this project. A motion to support it passed 7-0.

Other DPR news

Two other projects on the committee’s docket were not voted on, and the applicants agreed to return at a future meeting.

One project calls for a coastal development permit to demolish a single-family residence and build two new two-story single-family homes with basements that would include junior accessory dwelling units within each at 735 Nautilus St.

DPR trustee Angeles Leira said “this is a good solution for intensifying development on a standard 50-foot lot. We usually see developers breaking the lot in half and cramming everything in. I think this is a lot more elegant. … I’d like to see more of it.”

Trustee Diane Kane praised the design and “thoughtful” aesthetic choices.

However, given the proximity to La Jolla High School, trustees wanted to see renderings of the house in relation to its neighbors, plus plans for landscaping, sidewalk improvements and drainage.

Applicant Stosh Podeswik agreed to return at a future meeting.

The other project calls for a CDP for a new two-story, 8,136-square-foot single-family residence with a pool, a 742-square-foot attached three-car garage, an 876-square-foot attached four-car garage and a 1,234-square-foot ADU at 1540 La Jolla Rancho Road in the Muirlands area.

Architect and applicant Colin Lowry said that given the large lot, the garages would be arranged to “create a buffer” against the neighboring houses. However, because of the proposed fences and “airplane hangar” appearance of one of the garages, trustees wanted to see more.

“In the Muirlands, the neighborhood has traditionally been very rural but very open,” Leira said. “I’m seeing more and more of these new houses putting up fences. There are ways to [provide privacy] that are a bit softer. … I find fences are a bit stark.” She said she hopes the applicant would use landscaping to hide the fences.

Trustees asked for a materials board of what would be used on the exterior of the house, plus a landscape plan, more information about the gates and fences and whether they could be opened up, and more details about the treatment of street frontage.

Lowry agreed to return at a future meeting.

The Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21. Learn more at ◆