Expansion plan for The Bishop’s School gets support from La Jolla DPR Committee

The Bishop’s School in La Jolla agreed to abide by recommendations of a forthcoming acoustical study on its batting cages.
The Bishop’s School in La Jolla received support from the local Development Permit Review Committee for an expansion plan after it agreed to abide by recommendations of a forthcoming acoustical study on its batting cages.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

The group postpones final review of a plan to demolish La Casa de los Amigos in Lower Hermosa and build a new residence until the San Diego Historical Resources Board rules on whether La Casa is historic.


A planned four-phase expansion of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla won support from the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee on Dec. 13 after a discussion of how to mitigate noise from the school’s batting cages.

The applicant team is seeking permit amendments to allow movement of the batting cages and construction of indoor soccer and field hockey areas, an athletic center, a student-wellness building and a creative sciences, visual arts and social innovation building on the private school’s campus at 7522 and 7554 Draper Ave. and 7607 La Jolla Blvd. The project would add about 1,000 square feet to the campus but does not involve a change to student enrollment numbers or parking spaces.

The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee endorsed the project last month, and the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board did so in October.

In November, the DPR Committee asked school representatives to return at a future meeting with more details.

Applicant David Pfeifer, principal architect of San Diego-based Domusstudio Architecture, said Dec. 13 that he received a note from a neighbor “about the potential noise from the batting cages,” which would be moved from the north side of the existing science building to the south side.

DPR trustee Greg Jackson noted that the new cage location is closer to Draper Avenue than the current placement and said “that extra 100 feet is a big deal in terms of sound transition.”

Pfeifer said he will prepare an acoustical study and “abide by the recommendations of that acoustical study to mitigate the noise generated by that batting cage.”

Mary Cutchin, the neighbor who wrote the note, said at the DPR meeting that she lives about 60 feet from the Draper addresses in question and that the noise from the current batting cages is “disruptive and annoying.”

She added that the moved cages would be across from the La Jolla/Riford Library’s Community Room and might disturb events there. She asked Bishop’s to fully enclose the batting cages in “a sound-deadening structure.”

Pfeifer said an acoustical study might recommend building walls of masonry, covering the cages in an “acoustical blanket” or other methods of sound dampening.

Bishop’s director of facilities, Brian Williams, a DPR trustee who recused himself from voting on the project but still could comment on it, said the batting cages are in regular use only from March to June and are rarely used outside those months.

DPR trustee Diane Kane suggested limiting batting cage use to certain months and hours.

Graham Anderson of San Diego construction management firm Campbell-Anderson & Associates said the batting cages have “existed in that area on campus for many years.”

He added that the school is committed to addressing the noise. “We’re not trying to do something that upsets our neighbors,” he said.

The DPR passed a motion that findings can be made to support the project as presented.

Other DPR news

La Casa de los Amigos: The DPR voted to postpone a final review for a permit to demolish the blufftop two-story La Casa de los Amigos (Friends House) and build a new three-story, 10,567-square-foot residence with decks at 6110 Camino de la Costa in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood.

The postponement is intended to be until the San Diego Historical Resources Board rules on whether La Casa de los Amigos is historic. If the house, which dates to 1924, is given historic designation, it can’t be demolished, DPR Chairman Brian Will said.

Applicant Matthew Segal first presented the project at the DPR meeting Nov. 8, when he said the house’s foundation is failing and is unsafe.

His father and business partner, Jonathan Segal, who would live in the new home, told the La Jolla Light that the existing home’s footings are falling apart and cracking, the concrete is falling apart and the outside of the building is crumbling.

Matthew Segal said the Local Coastal Program adopted in the 1970s — which serves as a planning document for coastal communities — requires a 40-foot distance between a structure and a bluff. Sixty percent of the current house is in that setback and needs to be removed as part of any redevelopment plan, he said.

“The [California] Coastal Commission doesn’t want any structure, regardless of historicity, in that setback,” Segal said Nov. 8. “The Coastal Commission is demanding we remove the existing structure from the site.”

But in the days after that meeting, commission Coastal Program Analyst Alex Llerandi said in an email to local historic preservationists that Segal’s characterization misrepresented the commission’s position.

“The comments that I submitted to the city [of San Diego] on this project and which the architect was included on made no mention to the historicity of the structure, nor did it explicitly state or imply that historicity of a structure is not relevant to the certified Local Coastal Program and review of coastal development permits under it,” Llerandi said.

The Segals said there may have been a misunderstanding and that while the Coastal Commission did not expressly require that the entire house come down, “when you take away so much of the house, the parts that are there don’t make sense [to keep],” Jonathan Segal told the Light.

The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee meets Dec. 13 online.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

At the Dec. 13 meeting, Kane read a letter from Llerandi stating that “while any final permit is appealable to [the commission], the review and approval of the project lies with the city’s Development Services Department, not the commission. The city’s Land Development Code and La Jolla Community Plan contain the laws and policies addressing potentially historic structures, and it will be up to the city to direct the applicant accordingly and request the necessary information from them.”

Jonathan Segal said Dec. 13 that he expects the home to be deemed historic but reiterated that “the house has severe issues” and needs repair.

Trustee Angeles Leira said “it’s really illogical and mind-boggling to me to be doing a project ignoring the historicity of the site when that could certainly modify your project.”

The motion to postpone the final presentation until the Historical Resources Board acts passed, with Jackson voting no without comment.

Home additions: The committee passed a motion to support proposed additions to a house at 5268 La Jolla Blvd.

Applicant Frank Piermarini last month presented plans to the DPR to add a bedroom and bathroom on the one-story portion of the house and a roof deck on the two-story portion.

Proposed additions to a house at 5268 La Jolla Blvd. are depicted in this rendering.
The La Jolla DPR Committee passed a motion to support proposed additions to a house at 5268 La Jolla Blvd., depicted in this rendering.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

At the November meeting, DPR trustees asked Piermarini for items including a landscape plan and to consider stepping back the roof deck for privacy and presenting the plans to neighbors for feedback.

Piermarini said Dec. 13 that “the city of San Diego does not require a landscape plan for this scope of work” but showed a rendering of a plan to remove some pavers and “create more of a green area” on the left side of the property.

He said stepping back the deck for privacy would be a financial hardship for the owners, so the plans now call for etched glass around the deck.

Piermarini said his clients feel “they have really been open and transparent about their plans for remodeling their home and don’t really feel they need to have personal conversations with their neighbors.”

Kane maintained her concern about neighbor feedback: “We asked you to communicate with your neighbors … to make sure that sight lines were screened as best as possible so everybody retains their privacy. … You executed the exercise, but you didn’t meet the intent of what we were actually trying to get out.”

A motion that findings can be made to support the plans passed, with Kane dissenting and abstentions from Will, who as chairman customarily abstains except to break a tie, and Leira, who had problems hearing the presentation during the online meeting.

The project now moves to the consent agenda of the Jan. 5 meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, online. Learn more at