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La Jolla Shores permit reviewers support ADU project, but plan for new house must return

A rendering shows an accessory dwelling unit (right) proposed for 8445 Avenida de las Ondas.
(Courtesy of Michael Morton)

Two projects that went before the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee at previous meetings returned this week, with differing outcomes. One proposal to add an accessory dwelling unit to a property on Avenida de las Ondas got the committee’s support. The other project, to build a house on a vacant lot on Via Capri Court where a historic home once stood, will have to return again.

Avenida de las Ondas

After months of reviews and revisions, PRC trustees voted June 20 to support construction of an accessory dwelling unit next to a historically designated house at 8445 Avenida de las Ondas.

Since the original home on the property is designated historic, 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.”

Some PRC trustees argued that previous designs for the ADU were a little too different to be compatible.

Applicant representative Michael Morton said the newest revision includes features that mimic the existing house with its “dark eaves, trellis entry area and redwood siding” and said other redwood accents, red brick and windows also would match the house. He called the latest design “similar but slightly more upgraded.”

Morton said earlier iterations of the renovation used lighter colors and were “very contrasty from the original” house.

“These changes, we feel, address the concerns about the overall color scheme of the house and … would be appropriate,” he said.

Agreeing, acting PRC Chairwoman Janie Emerson thanked Morton for “reworking this” and “toning the colors down. It makes [the project] that much more palatable.”

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed unanimously.

The proposed work involves demolishing a garage and building a two-story structure with a “small guest room, workout room, bathroom, laundry [and] very deep two-car garage” on the bottom floor, Morton said previously. The top floor would be a one-bedroom, 1,191-square-foot ADU that would serve as a residence for family members.

Morton noted that the house is largely hidden from the street by vegetation surrounding the site.

Via Capri Court

A rendering depicts a new house proposed for a vacant lot at 2382 Via Capri Court where a historic house once stood.
(Courtesy of Karina Diamond)

A home development that the committee had already approved had to return after being voted down by the La Jolla Community Planning Association, but this time, PRC members asked the applicant to revise the plans and come back again.

The project calls for a combination building permit to construct a new two-story, 6,219-square-foot house at 2382 Via Capri Court in accord with a previously approved permit.

Applicant representative Karina Diamond has said the previous owners received a coastal development permit in 2014 to redesign the historically designated house that was on the lot, but never completed the project. Instead, the house was illegally demolished.

The current owners want to build the new house as designed and approved under the previous permit, Diamond said.

The PRC voted to support the project in February in a substantial conformance review (which determines whether a project is similar enough to one with a previously approved permit). But the Community Planning Association voted against the project during its April meeting and recommended that the applicant effectively start from scratch with a new permit.

Representing LJCPA, Greg Jackson said it seemed inappropriate that the project be presented under a substantial conformance review because “it could not possibly conform to earlier plans because earlier plans involved a structure that no longer exists. … The goal today is to have PRC look at this as a new structure on a vacant lot, and if it was approved on that basis, forward that recommendation [to LJCPA].”

Thus, the applicant returned to Shores PRC, showing the project as a new development.

Diamond said the plan includes two stories and had only been changed to address an “unsafe” curb cut (a ramp graded down from the surface of a sidewalk to the surface of an adjoining street) next to the property. However, removal of the curb cut was not included in the plan.

“It has the same height, the same overall design and same bulk and scale, a lot of windows, flat roofs, etc.,” Diamond said.

The committee expressed concern about a proposed 9-foot, north-facing stucco wall near the pool, which members called a “movie screen” in that it appears large enough to project a movie onto. Emerson said the pool aspect “always concerned me” and that the wall added to her concerns. Trustees also wanted to see the curb cut removal written into the plan.

The applicant agreed to return at a future meeting.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, July 18, likely online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆