DPR considers redesign of Lower Hermosa development, but it must return again

A rendering presented by Flavia Gomes shows a proposed development at 6208 Avenida Cresta.
A rendering presented to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee by Flavia Gomes shows a proposed development at 6208 Avenida Cresta.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A project planned for “one of the great streets of La Jolla” in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood underwent a major redesign after the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee voted to oppose the development in 2021.

The newest renderings were presented to the DPR at its Sept. 20 meeting in hopes of a different outcome. But after a lengthy discussion, the board asked the applicant to return at a future meeting.

The project requires a coastal development permit to demolish a 2,035-square-foot residence and a portion of the garage to build a new two-story single-family home with an attached garage, a balcony and a patio for a total of 7,497 square feet at 6208 Avenida Cresta. From the street, the height would be 24 feet.

When it was reviewed last year, DPR members voted against the project based on height concerns, landscaping inconsistencies, bulk and scale issues and more. At the time, opponents said it did not conform with local building regulations in terms of height and extensions into the front yard setback and is visually inconsistent with surrounding houses.

A home project planned for “one of the great streets of La Jolla” in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood was voted down by La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee last week, citing concerns about how it would fit in with existing houses.

Nov. 15, 2021

In the committee’s most recent review, Chairman Brian Will said the project was coming back with a new design team.

Representing the applicant, Flavia Gomes with Offset Design said “the owner contacted us to work together … to redesign after the project was denied and accomplish what the comments [asked] and comply with the San Diego municipal code.”

She said the new frontage uses wood and Brazilian cobogo (also known as breeze blocks) to create a contemporary design that brings “natural light, ventilation and beauty to the facade. This is basically a piece of art. Every block of this facade is handmade by designer Ana Paula Castro … and will be shipped to the United States.”

Addressing the comment that the previous design was “too modern” for the neighborhood, Gomes said she found other “extremely modern” houses in the area. She also said the project complies with local height limits “on all sides” and features extensive landscaping.

Existing vegetation on the block is part of what makes Avenida Cresta “one of the great streets of La Jolla,” according to DPR trustee Angeles Leira.

Gomes said she met with neighbors, who are supportive of the new development.

“I think we are compatible with the street and the style of new homes in La Jolla,” she said.

Given the new development would be “three times” larger than its predecessor, meeting speaker Sally Miller asked for a streetscape that shows the planned house as it appears in the context of the neighborhood.

La Jolla architect Phil Merten also pointed out a “problem” with the height of certain walls and whether they comply with local building codes, which he asked the applicant to review.

DPR trustee Greg Jackson said he found the new design “very interesting,” though he also said it is “very big.” Given that the size of the development, especially the frontage, was a concern for the board last year, he wondered whether the new frontage solves that issue and echoed the request for a street montage that includes the proposed development.

Weighing in as both a trustee and nearby resident, Mike Costello called the design “a very significant departure from the character of this neighborhood.”

Others raised questions about whether the encroachment into the front yard setbacks were being properly adhered to and whether the pool and landscaping features were prudent considering California’s ongoing drought.

The applicant agreed to return at a future meeting for additional review and a vote.

The Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, online. Learn more at ◆