La Jolla planners support Coastal Historic District; findings proceed to state commission

The area proposed for a La Jolla coastline historic district is based on an 1887 map.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

A proposal to designate part of the La Jolla coastline as a historic district received a clean sweep of endorsements when the La Jolla Community Planning Association voted to sign on to a letter of support during its July 6 meeting. The vote came after three other local planning groups also voted to support the proposal.

The plan, led by Seonaid McArthur, chairwoman of the La Jolla Historical Society’s Landmark Committee, would create the La Jolla Park Coastal Historic District, including eight acres of coastal parkland between Torrey Pines Road and Coast Walk in the north and nearly the end of Coast Boulevard in the south. It would encompass areas like The Cove and Children’s Pool and places such as the Casa de Mañana retirement community and the Red Roost and Red Rest cottages.

La Jolla's landmark Children's Pool would be one of the places included in the La Jolla Park Coastal Historic District.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

“The district is being established to protect and preserve one of La Jolla’s most important resources, and that is the coastline and The Village of La Jolla,” McArthur told the Community Planning Association. “Many of you are already involved in protecting the coastline, but we are involved in documenting the history and all the physical resources that were created in that coastal zone between 1887 and 1940.”

The historical period of significance begins in 1887, when La Jolla Park was subdivided, roads were built and residential and business lots were auctioned, according to the nomination. Additional significant developments include completion of the Children’s Pool in 1931 and construction of the La Jolla Adult Recreation Center in 1939.

The period of significance ends in 1940, when the last of many recreational buildings was constructed and community development began to focus on areas farther from the coast.

Benefits of designation include access to “better and more grants” should elements in the district need repair, code alternatives listed under the State Historical Building Code, protections under the California Environmental Quality Act and more.

McArthur previously told the La Jolla Light that designation as a historic district would recognize the coastal zone’s role in the growth and development of La Jolla. But such designation comes with limits on what can be built, and any change to the area would have to be in line with the terms of the designation.

During LJCPA’s deliberation, questions centered on how property owners in the proposed district would be affected. Noting that most of the structures are already historically designated, McArthur said “any change to the facade or physical character of the structure … goes before the historic preservation committee and the [San Diego Historical Resources Board].”

In March, the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee gave its support to the proposal. Last month, the La Jolla Shores Association and La Jolla Parks & Beaches board followed suit.

LJCPA voted unanimously to sign on to the letter. It will go to the California Office of Historic Preservation’s State Historical Resources Commission, which will hear the nomination Friday, Aug. 4.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association meets July 6 at The Bishop's School.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The idea to create a historic district came as a plan was taking shape to designate La Jolla’s belvederes (also known as gazebos) as historic structures. In looking at the belvederes’ surroundings, including many buildings that have been designated on state and local historic registers, and the long-standing open space, some suggested creating a historic district to include local parks and beach accessways.

Over the past few years, McArthur’s team pored over maps and other documents, used a drone to get photos of the coastline and researched other communities that have set aside open space for the public.

Other LJCPA news

Calle del Cielo: After a brief presentation and discussion, a project to demolish a 3,731-square-foot single-family residence and an attached garage and build a 9,091-square-foot single-family home, garages and a pool at 8305 Calle del Cielo was approved.

Applicant representative Andy Fotsch from La Jolla-based Will & Fotsch Architects (joined by business partner and LJCPA trustee Brian Will, who recused himself from the discussion and vote) said a series of changes had been made to the project following meetings with concerned neighbors. He said a proposed sport court had been reoriented, a privacy and sound-blocking wall had been added, a hedge was added, bedroom windows were reduced and more.

Despite concerns about the placement of the windows and whether they would overlook a neighbor’s backyard, the board voted unanimously to support the project.

Consent agenda: Meeting the terms of a new policy that reasons be stated when an item is removed, or “pulled,” from the consent agenda for full review at a future meeting, several projects were pulled from the July consent agenda. Consent items typically are approved all at once without discussion.

A project at 5646 Chelsea Ave. was pulled because resident Greg Wadsworth and others “feel like we need more detail. This is a huge project … and we would like to see more drawings or renderings, specifically of the landscaping plan.”

Additional concerns addressed how close the project would be to its neighbors and how construction equipment would be staged.

Other items that were pulled include a project to build a house on Castellana Road on what is currently a vacant lot, citing the need for more information; a project to remodel and add to a property at 625 Wrelton Drive, citing concerns about the view corridor; and a remodeling project at 5960 Camino de la Costa, citing questions about the roof line and noticing issues.

Next meeting: LJCPA next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, at a location to be determined. The agenda will be posted 72 hours in advance at ◆