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Gravilla Townhomes project gets support from La Jolla DPR Committee on third hearing

The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee is shown how windows at the proposed Gravilla Townhomes would be aligned.
The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee is shown how windows at the proposed Gravilla Townhomes at 6710 La Jolla Blvd. would be aligned so as to not face into those of a neighboring property.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Despite lingering concerns about height measurements and “inconsistency” in the plans, the 12-unit Gravilla Townhomes project got the support of the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee on May 17 on its third try.

The proposal calls for a coastal development permit for the new two-story project with a dozen for-sale condominiums — including one affordable for people of very low income — with 13 below-grade parking spaces with car stackers at 6710 La Jolla Blvd., at the corner of Gravilla Street. The nearby alley is to be expanded.

The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee endorsed the project April 11. The DPR Committee heard the proposal during its April 19 and May 10 meetings but had questions that prevented it from voting.

Most recently, the DPR wanted to see written plans for how the windows would be aligned and how height issues were being addressed.

Architect Doug Austin previously said the project went over the area’s 30-foot height limit in one parapet, or low protective wall along the edge of a roof or balcony, in which an angle would be reduced by 18 inches.

“We have corrected that,” he said at this week’s meeting.

Unconvinced, DPR trustee Mike Costello asked for an explanation as to “why you believe you’re in compliance with the height limit.”

Austin said the proposed height measurements were approved by San Diego city staff, “and we’re in agreement with staff that we are in compliance.”

“The maximum height in this area is 30 feet above pre-existing grade or above any new grade,” and at its highest point, the building is “six or eight inches” below the maximum allowable height, he said.

La Jolla architect Phil Merten said he had concerns about “inconsistency” in the architectural renderings and measurements. He said some versions of the plans provided one measurement for the alley width and another set of plans provided a different width. Similarly, he said guardrail renderings on exterior plans did not match what was drawn on floor plans.

He added questions about the existing grade at one particular corner and how that affects height measurement.

He also questioned whether “projecting” elements such as a sunshade extend past the building envelope.

Applicant Rhonda Neely, vice president of Newport Beach-based C3 Development, addressed concerns about whether any parking in the area would be lost due to the development. “We never intended to get rid of any parking that is allowed on Gravilla,” she said. “We will have two legal spaces, as is there now, and we picked up three legal spaces on La Jolla Boulevard” in addition to garage parking spaces for each owner.

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed 4-1, with Costello opposed, saying “We’re brushing over things too fast here” and that he’s “still not convinced” the height meets local code.

The DPR findings will proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification or further review.

The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, likely online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆