PRC votes down home development proposed for Via Capri Court, ‘frustrating’ applicant

A rendering depicts a proposed 6,219-square-foot house at 2382 Via Capri Court.
(Courtesy of Karina Diamond)

A proposal to build a house under a previously approved permit was voted down on its third hearing before the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee during its July 18 meeting.

Though the applicant returned with information requested during previous hearings, new concerns about height measurements plagued the development.

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 previous permit.

Applicant representative Karina Diamond has said the previous property owners received a coastal development permit in 2014 to redesign the historically designated house that was on the lot at the time, but they never completed the project. Instead, that 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 La Jolla Community Planning Association voted against the plan in April and recommended that the applicant present it as a new development.

LJCPA trustee Greg Jackson said the project “could not possibly conform to earlier plans because earlier plans involved a structure that no longer exists.”

The applicant returned to the Shores PRC in June, showing the project as a new development. However, committee members identified new issues and asked the applicant to return again before they cast a vote.

“We made some minor adjustments to the plan as a result of [the June] meeting,” Diamond said this week. Chief among them were removing a planned curb cut (a ramp graded down from the surface of a sidewalk to the surface of an adjoining street) and adding a planter bed to the base of a wall that surrounds the proposed pool so plants could grow along the wall and soften its appearance.

But PRC trustee Janie Emerson argued that “because plants come and go,” they would be insufficient to shield the wall.

Trustee John Shannon countered that he thinks the planter would offer a solution to “obscure and soften the wall” and “looks quite nice.”

Others expressed concern that the wall might be too heavy against the hillside on which the property sits.

Given that the project was being presented as a new development, Diamond also said modifications were made to the roof plan since the June meeting to create a deck for the homeowners. With the addition of the roof deck came questions about the overall structure height.

Diamond said the access to the deck would be 29 feet 9 inches from the lowest grade, just shy of the 30-foot coastal height limit.

However, trustee Larry Davidson said he found it “confusing” that there were similar lines on the plans to mark various grades from which height could be measured and it appeared from the architectural drawings that the development exceeded 30 feet.

“It most definitely does not,” Diamond argued, saying the height would not change and that it was “a little bit frustrating” that questions about height had not been raised previously.

PRC Chairman Andy Fotsch said that given the sloping topography and use of a plumb line measurement — which would be used to make sure the property does not exceed 30 feet at any point — the development is within legal limits.

Nevertheless, a motion by Emerson that findings cannot be made to support the project based on “extreme slope slide zone concerns and questionable height data” passed 3-2, with trustees Shannon and Marouane Abdaoui opposing without further comment. Fotsch (as is customary for the chairperson) and trustee Ted Haas abstained without further comment.

The PRC’s findings will proceed to the Community Planning Association for ratification or further review. LJCPA will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, online. Learn more at ◆