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La Jolla committee backs proposed home and ADU development on historic cottage’s former lot

A rendering depicts a residential project planned for Bishops Lane.
A rendering depicts a residential project planned for Bishops Lane, as viewed from Eads Avenue (left) and Bishops Lane (right).
(Courtesy of Safdie Rabines Architects)

A proposal calling for a coastal development permit to build a new three-story, 3,603-square-foot single-family residence with a lower-level accessory dwelling unit got the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee’s support on its first review.

The construction is proposed for 7762 Bishops Lane after a historically designated two-bedroom cottage on the property was moved about 30 feet to adjacent land.

“The setbacks are tight because it is a narrow lot,” said architect Taal Safdie. “The building steps back away from the street and an overhang partially covers the parking. One thing we wanted to accommodate was parking, so we created two spaces on Bishops Lane. On the ground floor, we have a small ADU, and the two upper floors are the main unit that we’re adding.”

The Village Planned District Ordinance limits three-story buildings, but three stories are allowed in this particular area because other multifamily buildings are in the vicinity.

“We’re trying to create a modern cottage, keeping the pitched roofs but making it open and bright,” Safdie said.

Though the DPR Committee was tasked April 12 only with reviewing the new construction, many commented about the historic cottage.

This lot facing Bishops Lane is slated for a new house and ADU development.
This lot facing Bishops Lane is slated for a new house and ADU development. The historic cottage on the right was previously 30 feet to the left.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

In November 2020, the San Diego Historical Resources Board voted to support moving the cottage, known as the 1913 Lillian Lentell cottage, with mitigation measures to preserve it. The house was designated historic in 2012 as exemplifying La Jolla’s early beach cottage development, with a period of significance of 1913-15.

At the time of the HRB vote, board member and La Jolla resident Courtney Coyle expressed concern that the new development would overshadow the old cottage.

However, DPR trustee Diane Kane said she believes the new residence “translates really nicely between the historic cottage and the new apartment building. That’s what we were hoping to get.”

Some trustees applauded the move of the cottage so it could be preserved and restored.

“The historical reality is, cottages like this one were moved quite often,” Kane said. “A number of these cottages have been in multiple locations over their lifetime, which is why we still have them.”

Trustee Angeles Leira called the project “very creative. … It was gracefully done.”

Motions to make the preliminary review final and to support the project both passed unanimously. The plan also will go before the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance review committee at a future meeting. ◆