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La Jolla planners OK Fay Ave. home project, Calumet Ave. bluff repair; object to revised Hillside Drive plan

A rendering depicts revised plans for a subdivision of 7310 and 7312 Fay Ave. in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Tim Golba)

Three projects the La Jolla Community Planning Association had seen before returned at its Sept. 1 meeting: one to subdivide a property on Fay Avenue, one intended to stabilize a bluff in Bird Rock and one to build a house on Hillside Drive. This time, two of the projects got the association’s support, while the third was rejected, all by unanimous votes.

7310 and 7312 Fay Ave.

A project seeking coastal development and site development permits for a subdivision, demolition of a home and construction of two new single-family residences on Fay Avenue was heard previously at LJCPA’s August meeting, but the applicant team was asked to return this month following complaints from some neighbors about a fence, underground lines and roof decks.

The new houses would be on separate lots at 7310 and 7312 Fay Ave., with a detached garage on each lot, totaling 5,254 square feet.

At the most recent meeting, architect Tim Golba said the roof decks were modified to make the walls more solid and reduce the line of sight into surrounding properties. He added that a problematic fence/retaining wall was redesigned and that sewer easement issues were being addressed. All of that was to the satisfaction of LJCPA trustees.

Previously, neighbor Michael Maher said he was “still waiting for some final information, in particular regarding the retaining wall.”

The concern was that the 4½-foot retaining wall “with a 6-foot fence structure” above it could enclose the property “in a prison-like condition,” Maher said.

In advance of the September LJCPA meeting, Golba presented various options for the fence’s appearance to Maher, and the two reached an agreement, according to Golba. Maher attended the online meeting but did not comment.

Minor revisions also were made to backyard features, Golba said.

With no comments from the public or the board, a motion to approve the project passed.

The plan also got unanimous support from La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee on June 21, with DPR trustees applauding the design and use of the space.

5386 Calumet Ave.

Affirming a vote of the DPR Committee, LJCPA supported a proposal to stabilize a coastal bluff with a 25-foot-wide erodible concrete fill below a house at 5386 Calumet Ave. in Bird Rock.

Applicant representative Walt Crampton, principal engineer at TerraCosta Consulting Group, said the site was used as a military coastal defense base during World War II. In the 1950s, some of the debris was discarded into notches in the coastal bluff and the area was covered with gunite, a type of concrete. More than 60 years later, the surface started to crumble and the debris underneath began to show.

Crampton got the DPR’s blessing July 19 for a project to clear out the debris and fill the deteriorated space with a material that is expected to erode at the same rate as the surrounding bluff.

A photo simulation shows a bluff stabilization plan below a house on Calumet Avenue in Bird Rock.
A photo simulation shows a bluff stabilization plan below a house on Calumet Avenue in Bird Rock.
(Courtesy of Walt Crampton)

The proposal was pulled from LJCPA’s consent agenda for a full review after Tom Cook of the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County chapter expressed concerns about whether the project was being “pushed through unnecessarily.”

“There is a lot of contention when these projects go in,” Cook told LJPCA. “The project [team] is not calling this a seawall … but we want to make sure, as this goes to the [California] Coastal Commission, that everyone is aware that this will face scrutiny as a coastal erosion project.”

However, Cook said he appreciated the presentation given to LJCPA and raised no further objections.

Soon after, a motion to support the project passed unanimously.

7595 Hillside Drive

7595 Hillside Drive in La Jolla
A proposal to build a 7,091-square-foot house at 7595 Hillside Drive has been the subject of many hearings by La Jolla planning groups.
(Bing Maps and La Jolla Light)

Though the applicant was not present, LJCPA discussed revised plans for a project to build a 7,091-square-foot house at 7595 Hillside Drive that had been reviewed six times by La Jolla planning groups before gaining support last year.

The project got the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee’s approval in February 2021. However, before it could be considered by a San Diego hearing officer, the plans were changed.

The Shores PRC called a special meeting Aug. 29 to review the new plans and render a new vote.

PRC Vice Chairwoman Janie Emerson said the committee had “a number of concerns about height, staging, drainage, etc.,” and it voted 5-0 that findings could not be made to support the project with the latest plans.

At the LJCPA meeting, La Jolla architect Phil Merten said he believes the project exceeds allowable heights and that the traffic plan would not leave enough space on the narrow street for emergency vehicles. He said the city of San Diego imposes limits on heights on hillsides “to preserve as much of our sloping hillsides and natural canyons without development.”

Emerson added that “the height has been a problem from Day 1. It took three or four reviews to get them to comply with the height and then they changed it.”

Shoring and grading plans associated with a retaining wall also have changed and now reportedly extend to a neighboring property.

A motion to support the PRC findings against the project because of height and traffic mitigation issues passed, with a provision that the “unresolved issue” of the shoring of the retaining wall be addressed.

Applicant representatives could not be reached for comment.

A city hearing officer delayed a planned Aug. 17 meeting about the development to Sept. 22 to give city departments enough time to review the new plans.

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