La Jolla DPR endorses design of remodel with accessory dwelling unit but delays final vote

A materials board and concept image show the style of an accessory dwelling unit planned for 7056 Vista del Mar Ave.
A materials board and concept image show the style of an accessory dwelling unit planned for 7056 Vista del Mar Ave. in La Jolla.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The California Coastal Commission needs to weigh in on a San Diego code update that includes new provisions for ADUs.


After an unconventional presentation about a project planned for the Barber Tract neighborhood, the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee cast an unconventional vote during its meeting Feb. 21.

The project looks to remodel a 3,479-square-foot two-story residence at 7056 Vista del Mar Ave. and build a 749-square-foot attached accessory dwelling unit and a 333-square-foot deck.

The committee voted unanimously to endorse the design but postponed final action on the project until the California Coastal Commission weighs in.

During an initial hearing in January, applicant representative Roger Sammon of Island Architects in La Jolla acknowledged that the presentation was “a little odd” in that the project cannot proceed until a code amendment integrates the terms of California Senate Bill 9, which was signed into law in September 2021. The bill, authored by state Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), intends to ease the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide a lot and contains provisions for creation of ADUs.

DPR Chairman Brian Will said the San Diego municipal code has been updated to reflect the changes but that they must be ratified by the Coastal Commission so they can apply in the coastal zone.

“We’re ... waiting for adoption of a new code update but presenting as if it was going through,” Sammon said previously. “We want to get the process going for the owners.”

Island Architects founding principal Tony Crisafi said “it now takes eight to 10 months to get a building permit, so we’re looking to get that submittal in.”

“The city has reviewed the project multiple times as ready to move forward, pending Coastal Commission action,” he said.

Sammon said he expects the Coastal Commission to vote on the new section of the code in August.

Construction of the ADU involves enclosing part of a courtyard and adding two bedrooms to the upper level of the house.

DPR member Angeles Leira called the project “creative” and said that while she doesn’t have a problem with “additional density on the shoreline,” she does have a problem with “something that is not yet sanctified in the book.”

“I don’t feel comfortable supporting the project because at this time, there is nothing in compliance with city regulations and I don’t like to approve things that are so iffy,” Leira said. “When you do that, there is additional pressure to approve things that might be a problem.”

Fellow trustee Mike Costello called it “a great project” but also didn’t want to vote to approve it until the Coastal Commission ratifies the new code.

“This is [counting] the eggs before they are even laid, let alone hatched,” he said.

Thus, the board passed a motion to endorse the design of the project but postpone final action until the Coastal Commission acts on the code.

Other DPR news

Lower Hermosa proposal: A project planned for the Lower Hermosa area was approved on its first hearing. The plan is to demolish a one-story, 2,506-square-foot single-family residence and build a new two-story, 4,968-square-foot single-family house including a roof terrace, a covered terrace and associated hardscape and landscaping at 6308 Avenida Cresta.

A rendering presented to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee shows what is planned for 6308 Avenida Cresta.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Sammon, representing the applicant, said the footprint of the new house is similar to what already exists, except for the driveway. He said the landscaping would account for 44 percent of the lot coverage and that an additional 25 percent would be covered with hardscape.

He described the look as “Spanish style, using some traditional detailing” with white stucco and terracotta tiles, limestone hardscaping and painted wood windows.

After minor questions about the drainage plan, how the landscape and hardscape would fit the neighborhood, and which mature trees would be kept, the committee voted unanimously to make its preliminary review final and support the project.

Home project to return: Facing backlash from neighbors, a plan to build a three-story, 10,120-square-foot house on a vacant parcel on Castellana Road in the Country Club area will return to the committee during a future meeting.

Applicant Jennifer Bolyn said the location is “a pretty narrow street” on a “challenging site” but added that only 6,292 square feet would be above ground and therefore contribute to the floor area ratio, or size of the development in relation to its lot. She said the frontage would have terraces and trellises to break up the project’s massing and that the proposal is within allowable heights.

However, several people who attended the meeting expressed concerns about the height, the square footage included in the FAR measurement, how the size of the house relates to its neighbors, how excavation for the garage would affect surrounding houses, and more.

During trustees’ comments, some asked for a projected view from surrounding streets and whether the project could be “toned down and pushed back.”

The applicant agreed to return at a future meeting with that information.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at a location to be determined. Learn more at ◆