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Community Planning Association gives OK to La Jolla Shores house/ADU project

A rendering depicts a house planned for 1851 Spindrift Drive in La Jolla Shores.
A rendering depicts a house planned for 1851 Spindrift Drive in La Jolla Shores.
(Courtesy of Island Architects)

After several previous hearings and an 11th-hour attempt to stop it, a home project in La Jolla Shores that has undergone multiple changes won support from the La Jolla Community Planning Association during its April 7 meeting.

The applicants seek site development and coastal development permits to demolish a 1,863-square-foot single-family house with a garage and build a two-story, 2,924-square-foot single-family house and 500-square-foot garage with a 302-square-foot accessory dwelling unit above the garage at 1851 Spindrift Drive.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee reviewed the project three times, ultimately voting to support it in February.

Haley Duke of Island Architects in La Jolla said the project changed over the course of those meetings and through interactions with neighbors.

For example, she said, a basement was added “to move some of the massing from the main level” to add more landscaping. The exterior materials would include stucco, terra cotta, wood and natural stones, which she said are “materials we see throughout the neighborhood.”

LJCPA member Janie Emerson, who also is a Shores PRC trustee, thanked the applicants for the changes. “We often get projects at PRC where the architects are not willing to work with the committee and the community,” Emerson said. “That was not the case here. Haley worked very hard to accommodate what the owners wanted and the neighborhood wanted.”

The La Jolla Community Planning Association vetoed the findings of its La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, which had decided that a planned home development conformed with a previously approved permit.

However, La Jollan Phil Merten said he has a “big issue with a number of aspects of the project,” largely that “the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance [or blueprint for design] specifically states that building and structure setbacks shall be in general conformity with those in the general vicinity,” which he argued is not the case with this project.

He said roof overhangs on the second floor give the impression that the neighboring home is closer to the property line than it is.

A neighbor also expressed concern about the size of the proposed house and the setbacks.

However, with no other comments or questions from trustees, a motion to ratify the findings of the PRC passed 10-5, with trustees Tom Brady, Mike Costello, Larry Davidson, Joe Terry and Ray Weiss dissenting. Costello said he voted against the project due to opposition from neighbors.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association meets April 7 online.
The La Jolla Community Planning Association meets April 7 online.
(Courtesy of La Jolla Community Planning Association)

Other LJCPA news

New officers selected: San Diego City Councilman and former LJCPA trustee Joe LaCava, whose council District 1 includes La Jolla, administered the oath of office to six trustees voted in during the board’s most recent election. They are Brady, Costello, Terry, Helen Boyden, Suzanne Baracchini and John Fremdling.

In selecting its officers, the board reelected Diane Kane as president, Greg Jackson as first vice president and Davidson as treasurer. Bob Steck was elected second vice president and Baracchini was elected secretary.

Shores FAR confusion: As part of a recent city code change, the La Jolla Shores area went from having a de facto maximum floor area ratio (a building’s total floor area relative to the size of the lot) to an actual one, but it came with some confusion about when it goes into effect and where.

Previously, The Shores had no maximum FAR, though the ratio is used as a metric for measuring bulk and scale. However, development guidelines in The Shores required that 30 percent of a property be covered by landscaping and that structures be limited to 30 feet tall in compliance with the Proposition D coastal height limit.

As part of the city’s annual update to the land development code, a FAR maximum consistent with citywide standards was codified. Supporters of the move said its goal is to provide more objective numerical measurements, since The Shores PDO was written in the 1970s with few numerical measurements for city staff to provide to applicants for a maximum size.

But the California Coastal Commission has to certify the change before it goes into effect in San Diego’s coastal zone.

LaCava acknowledged the process has gotten “a little confusing” but said that in areas of La Jolla Shores not in the coastal zone (about the eastern half of The Shores) the new FAR is now in effect.

“For the rest of La Jolla Shores, the ordinance does not yet apply,” he said. “We have to wait until the Coastal Commission certifies that change.”

Baraat approved: The planned closure on Monday, May 30, of part of Girard Avenue to accommodate a baraat (a processional as part of an Indian wedding) gained LJCPA’s approval.

The procession, in which the groom rides a horse to the ceremony, will end at the main entrance of the La Valencia Hotel on Prospect Street.

La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board Chairman Brian Earley said there is precedent for closing streets in La Jolla for weddings. However, he said the closure of a street during high tourism times “has raised a lot of attention.”

Baracchini questioned how the proposed closure on the tourist-heavy Memorial Day holiday would affect local businesses and the route for emergency personnel to access La Jolla Cove if need be.

However, with backers noting that the closure would be only an hour, a motion to support it passed unanimously, with Kane customarily abstaining as president.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5, likely online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆