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Bird Rock council hears plans for tasting room’s outdoor expansion, plus a 13-unit townhouse project

Owner Lowell Jooste would like to further develop the outdoor seating area of LJ Crafted Wines at 5621 La Jolla Blvd.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The Bird Rock Community Council was briefed on plans for two new developments along La Jolla Boulevard during its Nov. 1 meeting — one to expand the outdoor seating area of LJ Crafted Wines and the other to build a townhouse complex.

Both proposals will be presented to other La Jolla planning groups in coming weeks, thus the BRCC did not vote on either.

LJ Crafted Wines

Applicant representative Michael Morton said the LJ Crafted Wines tasting room at 5621 La Jolla Blvd. is looking to expand its patio to the south and partially in front of a nearby property.

“We would like to create an extension of the existing permitted sidewalk cafe area,” Morton said. Owner Lowell Jooste “has an agreement with the owners of the adjacent property for [Jooste] to use the unused portion of the concrete parking area.”

The area in question is 210 square feet.

Morton said the proposal will be presented to the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee and other applicable groups.

BRCC President John Newsam said the Community Council “formally doesn’t have input into the regulatory or approval process, but we are very concerned about development in the neighborhood. We want it to look good, feel good and be successful. We’re delighted to have LJ Crafted Wines in Bird Rock. … They have done a great job; it is a great business. We’re delighted to see this evidence of continued success and expansion.”

BRCC Vice President Joe Parker called it a “great proposal. … This is an easy one for me [to support].”

Resident Don Schmidt, who attended the meeting, said that while he supports “what is there now,” he “doesn’t want to see more and more added. I want to see the sidewalk clear.”

Morton said the tables, chairs and umbrellas would be taken in at the end of every day to reduce potential impacts when the wine bar is not open.

Morton said work is subject to city of San Diego scheduling. As soon as the permits are granted, the work can begin, he said.

LJ Crafted Wines has been in Bird Rock for about a decade and expanded its outdoor seating offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adelante Townhomes

A rendering presented to the Bird Rock Community Council depicts the proposed Adelante Townhomes at 5575 La Jolla Blvd.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The Community Council also reviewed preliminary plans for a development to be known as the Adelante Townhomes at 5575 La Jolla Blvd. The project, which likely would be built in 2023 or 2024, is being designed by Murfey Co. and would consist of 13 for-sale townhomes on a 13,000-square-foot site with a subterranean garage.

Ryan Wynn, Murfey Co. director of development, said the building’s Spanish Revival architecture “will fit in with existing community context” and that the project will keep the sidewalk open for pedestrians and adhere to local height limits.

“This project is near and dear to our hearts,” Wynn said. “As a team, we have all driven past this site a few hundred thousand times, so we’re excited to bring this project into the community and add to its character and charm.”

The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance requires that new development in the area have ground-floor retail, but Wynn said that because affordable housing is included in the project, “we are using a waiver to relieve the [ground-floor retail] requirements. We feel that maximizing the residential component for homeowners is to the project’s benefit.”

According to Wynn, one unit is to be available for “very low income” residents, while the remaining 12 will be market rate.

However, some at the meeting were unhappy with the lack of retail.

“Personally, I can’t support the city’s willy-nilly ignoring the Planned District [Ordinance],” Schmidt said. “There is no affordable housing in La Jolla, and the city can’t say they aren’t going to enforce [the ground-floor retail requirement]. This is the beginning of the end of the commercial district. If this goes through … we are going to have a lot less business here.”

Parker said he also was disturbed by the lack of ground-floor retail. “I’m disappointed with what we are seeing over and over again in La Jolla, and that is the gradual removal of commercial services available to residents who depend on it,” he said.

Kristen Barrett questioned the use of Spanish Revival architecture. “I don’t see a lot of Spanish Revival on La Jolla Boulevard,” she said. “We try to embrace that coastal feel. I’m wondering why we are getting this style shoehorned into this community.”

Wynn agreed to take the comments back to the company for consideration and said the next steps are to present to applicable planning groups such as the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee and the La Jolla Community Planning Association in the first quarter of next year. The plan, he said, is to have the needed permits by fall 2023.

Next meeting: The BRCC’s next gathering will be a holiday party beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry, 5525 La Jolla Blvd. Learn more at birdrockcc.org. ◆