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Nine-unit Coast Boulevard South development gets La Jolla planners’ support after board hears concerns

A rendering shows a development proposed for the 800 block of Coast Boulevard South in La Jolla.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)
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Despite concerns about impacts from construction and traffic, the La Jolla Community Planning Association voted Dec. 1 to support a plan to develop a site on Coast Boulevard South that contains historically designated houses.

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

Project architect Brian Will — who is an LJCPA trustee but recused himself from the vote — said there has been “zero negative feedback about the design of the project, but we have had some questions and concerns about the difficulties of living next to a construction site.”

He briefly talked about the design and spent more time on how construction would be handled and impacts mitigated.

Will said the development would be below the size and units allowed while increasing onsite parking. The frontage would consist of three houses: the historic cottage and the non-historic cottage that would stay in place, and the historic cottage currently in the back that is to be moved to the front.

“We wanted to keep this fabric across the Coast Boulevard facade,” Will said.

The new townhouses in the back would include a nod to late area architect Irving Gill, he added.

Property co-owner Bill Davidson said construction equipment and workers would access the site through a currently vacant area of the property.

“When we start construction, dust control is huge, dirt control is huge, safety is huge,” Davidson said. “We are going to be very considerate of the neighborhood because we are going to live there.”

A website, 800coastlajolla.com, will post construction updates for neighbors, he said.

Nevertheless, there were concerns about how the safety of residents of the Casa de Mañana retirement community across the street would be preserved.

“We have more than 100 fragile seniors that walk across Coast [Boulevard] every day,” said neighbor Barbara Freeman. “I think we have safety risks during construction and once construction is completed. These people walk very slowly and cars move very quickly. This is too big a project to be across from Casa [de Mañana].”

Kurt Norden, executive director of Casa de Mañana, said residents there also have concerns. “I think some traffic and safety studies should be done before this project is approved so we will see how it will impact the seniors,” he said.

Will said there is a building owned by Casa de Mañana with a dedicated crosswalk next to the development site. “We feel there is going to be minimal impact throughout this process, as everyone to the northeast of us has a crosswalk to get across the street long before they reach our construction site,” Will said.

Norden said there are additional worries about how cars would access the development. He specifically cited a Coast Boulevard driveway and said parking should be reached from a nearby alley to reduce traffic flow near the retirement community.

Others commended the architects for designing something smaller than what local building codes allow and therefore has less impact.

After the board voted without dissent to support the project, a second motion was approved to request that the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board “study the traffic situation along Coast Boulevard with specific attention to this project during construction and once complete.”

Will said he would be willing to provide the Traffic & Transportation Board with updates and discuss issues as the project progresses.

La Jolla CPA decides changing the description from ‘attic’ to allow upper space to be used for sleeping satisfies the terms of the project’s existing permit. The change is being reviewed by the city of San Diego.

Other LJCPA news

A rendering depicts a mixed-use residential/retail development planned for Herschel Avenue.
A rendering depicts a mixed-use residential/retail development planned for Herschel Avenue in a space that is currently a parking lot.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Herschel Avenue development: After a brief discussion, a development planned for 7945 Herschel Ave. was approved unanimously. The project consists of 12 residential apartments with a roof deck above a ground-floor residential/lobby area with retail, plus a 33,535-square-foot basement parking garage. The site currently is a parking lot for the La Valencia Hotel.

Paradisaea pulled for presentation: Paradisaea restaurant’s planned outdoor dining expansion was pulled from the board’s consent agenda — which is approved without discussion — and will be heard in a full presentation in January.

The applicant team is seeking a permit to expand the outdoor dining along the building at 5680 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock to add more tables and chairs, with the furthest expansion being 17 feet from the building and 14 feet from the curb. The seating area is to be delineated by a rope, planters and umbrellas.

Election coming: The board will hold an election in the spring to fill eight seats. Community Planning Association members who have attended three meetings in the 12 months before the March meeting and submit a candidate statement are eligible to run. A candidates forum will be held in February and the election in March.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org. ◆