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Permit Review Committee gives thumbs down to proposed home remodeling and addition in The Shores

A rendering of a planned development at 8311 El Paseo Grande in La Jolla Shores
A rendering of a planned development at 8311 El Paseo Grande was presented to the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee on Nov. 17.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Faced with concerned neighbors and accusations that the applicant was using “deceptive wording” and playing “games,” the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee voted to oppose a home project planned a block from Kellogg Park.

The proposal for 8311 El Paseo Grande calls for coastal development and site development permits for “a first floor and basement remodel and a second-story addition to an existing single-family residence,” according to applicant representative Tim Golba. The current house is 2,569 square feet and the remodel would add 1,548 square feet, he said.

Golba added that the property has “some goofy original design features we are trying to correct with this project.”

The new development would be “fully contained within the footprint of the existing structure,” with the bulk of it applied to the second level, he said. A key feature is an elevator traveling between the basement and the top floor.

But several people attending the Permit Review Committee’s Nov. 17 meeting online contended the basement is actually a story, which would create a three-level house that some said would be inconsistent with the neighborhood.

Area resident Peter Gantzel said the existing house is “one of the most modest two-story houses in the neighborhood. There is terminology being used here to try and mitigate this thing [because] it really is becoming a three-story house. The side walls are also in violation in terms of height and setbacks. There are games being played.”

Resident Karen Flynn said “the deceptive wording of this project raises a lot of red flags. If everything is within the rules, why are we pretending that a street-level garage and existing bedroom on the lower level is a basement? Right now, if you stand [at the street], it is a two-story house. You are adding another story.”

The existing house at 8311 El Paseo Grande in La Jolla Shores is 2,569 square feet.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Flynn asked the committee to reassess the height, setbacks and other measurements.

PRC trustee Janie Emerson cited “a flat wall” with no architectural articulation on the north side and said she wanted to see the side setback measurements.

Golba responded that the north side was not included in a rendering of the project because it is blocked by a neighboring house. He also said the setbacks are consistent with the neighborhood.

Emerson shared the concerns about the proposed house being described as two stories when some see it as three stories.

Golba said the land development code qualifies the lowest level as a basement. “You can throw all the strong accusation words out that you want, but the fact is, it is by definition a basement. We can play semantics with words all we want.”

Even if the lowest level is a story instead of a basement, PRC Chairman Andy Fotsch said there is not a prohibition on third stories in The Shores.

“In The Village, there are codified limitations on third stories, but there is not such in The Shores,” Fotsch said. “There are setback limitations on third stories, which this is. So [Golba is] meeting all the levels of requirements that are written in zoning code.”

PRC member John Shannon said that while he feels for the concerned neighbors, “I don’t see anything that’s terribly wrong about this [development].”

Still, the board voted 3-2 that findings cannot be made to support the project due to bulk and scale issues, lack of articulation on the north wall and concern about the lower level. Shannon and trustee Ted Haas dissented and Fotsch customarily abstained as chairman.

The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆