La Jolla planners support 16,000-square-foot home development in Country Club area

A rendering shows a 16,251-square-foot, two-story house planned for what is currently a vacant lot at 2072 Via Casa Alta.
A rendering shows a 16,251-square-foot, two-story house planned for what is currently a vacant lot at 2072 Via Casa Alta in La Jolla.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The Community Planning Association board picks a favored option for a new logo, and locals remember late LJCPA trustee and longtime community volunteer Helen Boyden.


An ongoing issue of how to interpret a “gray area” of San Diego city code seemed to be a sticking point for a planned home development in La Jolla’s Country Club area when it was heard by the La Jolla Community Planning Association during its Nov. 3 meeting.

Still, in the end the proposal received support from most board members.

The project seeks 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.

Some at the meeting questioned whether an angled plane is within allowable heights and whether there is enough separation between structures on the lot.

Applicant representative Claude-Anthony Marengo said the development “cascades down the hillside,” “sits back quite a ways from the front” and meets the 30-foot coastal height limit.

However, La Jolla architect Phil Merten argued that “a piece of the roof projects beyond [what is allowed].” He said he pulled the item from the Community Planning Association’s consent agenda in the past month for a full review at this month’s meeting because of questions about the height.

“The overall structure height exceeded the maximum allowed on a hillside by 13 feet,” Merten said.

He also questioned whether a 6-foot separation between the lower accessory structure and the main house as shown on architectural drawings is adequate.

Marengo said the two structures are “not touching” and that the space between them would be covered with a planter and vegetation.

Merten countered that the 6-foot separation “is between wall to wall, but there is a roof overhang of the upper building that is a couple of feet from the lower building, and that is not the separation that is required as part of the municipal code.”

The issue of whether buildings are separated enough has been in discussion at La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee for years. In a residential project, if structures are connected, they must be measured from the lowest point of the lowest structure to the highest point of the house. However, if they are separate, the measurement would just be the house.

Last year, the DPR Committee recommended changes to the code intended to make it clearer.

The DPR lent its support to the Via Casa Alta project in September. But it, too, struggled with the height limit issue. Much of the discussion over two hearings centered on whether the development’s height meets applicable code.

With some LJCPA trustees saying the city ultimately would have to decide whether the separation of structures meets code, trustee Greg Jackson made a motion that LJCPA recommend the city make findings to approve the project.

The motion passed 12-3, with trustees Tom Brady, Mike Costello and Suzanne Weissman opposing without comment.

Other LJCPA news

This is the favorite for a new La Jolla Community Planning Association logo.
This is the favorite for a new La Jolla Community Planning Association logo.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

New logo: Following a presentation of four options for a new logo last month, the LJCPA board selected a favorite.

Jackson facilitated a poll of trustees in recent weeks, and the responses were almost evenly split between two options, differing only in the typeface used.

One came out slightly ahead, so Jackson suggested it be refined and that the board “make that our logo going forward.” The board supported the idea and agreed to present the new logo at a future meeting.

The board has had a logo used on official correspondence, but the only version is low-resolution and difficult to replicate.

Full reviews coming: Both items on the meeting’s consent agenda — usually approved without discussion — were pulled for full review at a future meeting: a townhomes project planned for Coast Boulevard South and a residential/retail development proposed for Herschel Avenue.

The townhomes plan calls for coastal development, site development and neighborhood development permits and a tentative map to consolidate two lots into one. It would demolish five structures at 813-821 Coast Blvd. South; remodel and add to a non-historic property at 811 Coast Blvd. South; remodel and add to a historic property at 825 Coast Blvd. South; relocate, remodel and add to a historic property at 827 Coast Blvd. South; and build six new three-story townhouses over an underground garage. The project would total 23,591 square feet of development.

The building planned for 7945 Herschel Ave. would have two above-ground levels with a 33,535-square-foot basement parking garage. It would consist of 12 residential apartments with a roof deck above a ground-floor residential/lobby area with retail. The site currently is a parking lot for the La Valencia Hotel.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, likely online. Learn more at

Helen Boyden

Locals remember Helen Boyden, longtime La Jolla community planning volunteer, 85

La Jolla Community Planning Association President Diane Kane announced that LJCPA trustee and longtime community volunteer Helen Boyden — who served on several local planning groups over the past few decades — died in September at age 85.

“Helen was a force,” Kane said. “They don’t make her like that anymore, and we are better as individuals and as an organization for her being in our lives. … I learned to be LJCPA president from Helen.”

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said he knew Boyden during his time on LJCPA.

“I was honored to work with Helen … and what a tireless worker she was, relentless in pursuit of the community benefit,” LaCava said. “She volunteered for everything and never stopped. [She was] the definition of public service.”

La Jolla Shores Association President Janie Emerson called Boyden “knowledgeable and detailed, passionate and caring” but also “very funny, and you could see the mischief coming when that impish twinkle in her eye started. You knew something was coming that would double you over with laughter.”

Others said at LJCPA’s Nov. 3 meeting that they were shocked and saddened by Boyden’s death.

Her seat on the board will be filled in the group’s upcoming election.