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Development Permit Review Committee backs four projects in La Jolla

A rendering presented by Mark Lyon of a planned development at 7788 and 7798 Prospect Place.
A rendering presented to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee by Mark Lyon shows a planned development at 7788 and 7798 Prospect Place.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Two projects that will be highly visible — one from Nautilus Street and one from Torrey Pines Road — got the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee’s approval during its Sept. 20 meeting online, as did two other less-visible projects.

7798/7788 Prospect Place

Despite some hesitation, the board ruled in favor of a project seeking a coastal development permit to demolish a residence and detached garage to make way for construction of a new 5,418-square-foot, two-story single-family home at 7798 Prospect Place and a new 3,600-square-foot, three-story single-family home with an attached 785-square-foot accessory dwelling unit at 7788 Prospect Place, at the corner of Torrey Pines Road.

Applicant team Mark Lyon and Kevin Leon were asked to meet with the neighbors to address previously raised concerns.

While Lyon said he did meet with the neighbors, the response was mixed. He said one was worried about losing views but “there are no prescriptive rights to private views” and the neighbors were “disappointed” but “understood.”

“We have gone through the design in a way that maintains the [surrounding] views as much as possible, while keeping what our property owner wants,” Leon added, and that the rear unit would be angled to allow for some views.

In addressing a question about how the project’s bulk and scale compares to that of surrounding properties, Leon said, “most of the houses along that area are two- and three-story ... modern houses.”

Speaking to aesthetics, DPR trustee John Fremdling called the development “two great big white boxes” and that “two white stucco boxes side by side does not fit the neighborhood; they look like apartment buildings.”

Following the reminder that the board is tasked with reviewing projects for compliance with local code as opposed to preference, a motion that findings could be made to support the project passed 5-0.

1400 block Nautilus Street

A planned development on the 1400 block of Nautilus Street
A rendering provided to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee by Claude-Anthony Marengo depicts a planned development in the 1400 block of Nautilus Street.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

After seeing how views from Nautilus Street would be impacted, the board voted in support of a project to build two houses in the 1400 block of Nautilus, finding that a revised permit application substantially conforms to a previously approved permit.

Applicant representative Claude-Anthony Marengo was asked to show how the project had changed from its original permit and how it would look from the street.

“We lowered the building and pushed it away from the street,” he explained. The number of properties was also reduced from three houses to two.

Marengo showed “what the owner was envisioning” but did not have final renderings.

The board also saw overlays and floor plans from the previous permit and found that the new development substantially conformed to what was previously approved or improved upon the previous design.

“The fact that it is two houses instead of three is a much better use of that land; it saves space,” Fremdling said. “The scale of the houses is lower to clear the view over the tops of the roofs and I think that is an advantage … over the previous plan” in terms of bulk and scale.

A motion to support the project passed 5-0.

2072 Via Casa Alta

The board also lent its support to a project seeking coastal development and site development permits for a new 16,251-square-foot, two-story house over a basement, with an accessory structure and a pool, on a currently vacant lot at 2072 Via Casa Alta.

When the project was last reviewed by DPR on Sept. 13, La Jolla architect Phil Merten raised concerns about the height and whether the development adheres to local code. Thus, Marengo dedicated much of his Sept. 20 presentation to explaining various features and how they met applicable building guidelines and presented a drainage plan.

A motion that findings can be made to support the project passed 4-1 with DPR trustee Mike Costello opposing because he “wasn’t convinced” that a retaining wall was within allowable heights.

La Jolla Scenic Drive South sewer easement

Although it was slated for a preliminary review, the board voted in favor of vacating a sewer easement across two properties located at 7859 and 6083 La Jolla Scenic Drive South. Any preliminary review can be made final by a unanimous vote.

Civil engineer Alexander Griswold explained the applicant team is trying to get a building and grading permit to construct a single-family house and “discovered there is an easement for an existing public sewer that does not follow the path of the constructed sewer.” Therefore, the team is seeking to vacate the existing sewer easement and propose a new one that follows where the sewer line is, which the board supported.

The easement was created before the current team was involved with the project.

DPR’s findings proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification or further review. LJCPA next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆