La Jolla Shores permit reviewers approve home construction on site of illegal demolition

The La Jolla Shores PRC approved plans for new construction, depicted in this rendering, on a vacant lot on Via Capri Court.
The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee approved plans for new construction, depicted in this rendering, on a vacant lot on Via Capri Court, along with a permit amendment.
(Courtesy of Karina Diamond)

Plans for construction of a new 6,219-square-foot house on a vacant lot that once held a historic home won approval from the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee during its virtual meeting Feb. 22.

The proposal for the two-story dwelling at 2382 Via Capri Court came with a review to amend the original permitting.

The 2014 permit specified an addition to an existing single-family residence, said applicant representative Karina Diamond. But the word “existing” needs to be replaced with “new,” since the historically designated home that stood there was illegally demolished, she said.

Diamond said the current owners bought the vacant lot, which came with the 2014 permit, in 2017, “unaware there was an illegal demolition of the previously existing house.”

The plans for the new house show a floor area ratio (the size of a building in relation to its lot) of 0.46.

Klemens Ruoss, agent for the owners, said the lot currently is for sale. The owners were “excited to build,” but the permitting issues have discouraged them, Ruoss said.

He said they are still motivated to build should the project be approved.

PRC trustee Matt Edwards said the elevation on the north side of the lot, where a pool is planned, worried him. “It’s a steep one there,” he said.

Trustee Janie Emerson also expressed concerns about the steepness of the lot’s north slope and the stability of the land under the lot.

However, a motion that findings can be made to support the project passed, with Emerson opposed and PRC Chairman Andy Fotsch customarily abstaining.

Other PRC news

1851 Spindrift Drive: On its third review, a home planned for Spindrift Drive finally garnered PRC approval.

The proposal to demolish a 1,863-square-foot single-family residence and garage at 1851 Spindrift and build a two-story, 2,924-square-foot single-family home with a 500-square-foot garage and 302-square-foot accessory dwelling unit above the garage underwent minor changes after the project was voted down in January.

A home development at 1851 Spindrift Drive received PRC approval.
A home development at 1851 Spindrift Drive received PRC approval. The red lines represent the existing house on the property; the blue lines show the proposed house.
(Courtesy of Haley Duke)

The floor area ratio, which PRC trustees previously said was too large, dropped from 0.86 to 0.79, according to applicant representative Haley Duke of Island Architects in La Jolla.

She added that the setbacks were increased on all sides of the property, with the largest increase in the front yard, from 10 feet to 12 feet.

The home, which will be done in a Spanish palette with wood, terracotta and natural materials, also contains “some big openings,” such as covered terraces and sloping roofs, “so it’s less wall at the facades,” Duke said.

The house “kisses” the 30-foot height limit at 29 feet 11 inches at its highest point, she said.

“I love the project,” Emerson said. “I so appreciate you all continuing to work with this to try to get it to a point where … everybody feels comfortable with it.”

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed, with PRC trustee Dan Courtney dissenting without comment.

8445 Avenida de las Ondas: Consideration of a plan to add an accessory dwelling unit to a historic home was continued to the next PRC meeting.

The project proposed for 8445 Avenida de las Ondas would demolish a garage and build a two-story structure, with a “small guest room, workout room, bathroom, laundry [and] very deep two-car garage” on the bottom floor, said applicant representative Michael Morton.

The top floor would be a one-bedroom, 1,191-square-foot ADU for extended family to live in.

Plans for an accessory dwelling unit for a historic home on Avenida de las Ondas were not voted on Feb. 22.
(Courtesy of Michael Morton)

The original home on the property is designated historic, Morton said, and thus his designs for the ADU follow the secretary of the interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which state that “new additions, exterior alterations or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.”

“The whole idea is they don’t want the new additions to look anything like the original historically designated” structure, Morton said, explaining the contrasting “light, natural colors” in the design.

PRC trustee Larry Davidson said “it just looks so disparate from the original to the new construction. … I don’t see the connection between the two buildings in materials, shape, form.”

Emerson said “it’s supposed to be differentiated from the old, but it should be compatible with the massing, size, scale and architectural features.”

“I don’t have any problem with the size of it … [but] it looks like two completely different buildings on the same property, and I think that’s not compatible with” the Standards for Rehabilitation, she added.

Emerson said a change in color and materials could remedy that.

The PRC and Morton agreed to a continuance. Morton said he would explore changing the colors.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, March 21, likely online. Learn more at