Development Permit Review Committee supports retail, office and residential project for La Jolla Boulevard

Plans call for a one-story home at 6825 La Jolla Blvd. to be converted to multiple units.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A mixed-use project planned for La Jolla Boulevard got the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee’s approval during its Feb. 21 meeting after some clarification about how the property’s relationship with the street and sidewalk would be improved.

Plans call for a coastal development permit to convert a one-story house to a multi-unit space including retail, an office and residences, including a junior accessory dwelling unit, at 6825 La Jolla Blvd.

During a DPR hearing in January, applicant Scott Frontis said the property is occupied by the owners, who run their business there.

“The location is near a heavy commercial area … so we’re proposing to have a mixed-use building with commercial space on the first level and two units [onsite]. The owners would like to use Unit 1 as an office space and their primary residence. Unit 2 would have a two-level residential unit and junior ADU.”

Access to the commercial site would be via a ramp from the street to the front. The residential units would be accessed via Bonair Way in the rear. There also would be a dedicated commercial parking space onsite.

The development got the blessing of the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee on Nov. 14.

At the Feb. 21 DPR hearing, trustee Angeles Leira questioned the use of the ramp to access the property from La Jolla Boulevard. “Those ramps are so awkward … they are always dirty and collect garbage, which is sad because it’s a space you want to make nice for people that are disabled,” she said. “This is such a key lot on La Jolla Boulevard, so I would like to see another way of getting up there.”

While he agreed about the challenges with a ramp, Frontis said the city of San Diego is requiring it. As a compromise, Leira asked that the ramp be designed so it is “more visually integrated with the sidewalk” to improve aesthetics. Frontis agreed to consider that.

DPR trustee Diane Kane said she, too, had concerns about how the ramp would be integrated into the design. “You could get a really interesting yard with some plantings instead of just a functional ramp,” she said. “You can do some really cool things with these spaces.”

Further seeking to promote visual harmony with the street, Frontis said he met with architects and local planners who are working to create a streetscape plan that aims to line different streets with different types of trees so the appearance of each street is “consistent but special.”

A side-by-side comparison shows the current conditions in front of 6825 La Jolla Blvd. and what is proposed.
A side-by-side comparison presented to the Development Permit Review Committee shows the current conditions in front of 6825 La Jolla Blvd. (left) and what is proposed.
(Screenshot by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Gold medallion trees are being proposed for La Jolla Boulevard, so Frontis said “we specified two gold medallions on the sidewalk and one onsite … and the pattern of the sidewalk is going to be more of a historic grid pattern. Every [area] that does not have a walkway, driveway or courtyard will have plantings.”

He said the sidewalk and tree arrangement would be similar to what was installed recently at 7300 Girard Ave.

Frontis also showed how the buildings would be separated to “not create one big, large building” and how they would be designed to break up massing.

There also was some discussion as to whether the alleyway near the property could be beautified or used as part of the project. The architect agreed to talk to the property owner about whether the usage and aesthetics of the ramp and the alley could be improved.

The committee voted 6-2 to support the project, with Leira and trustee Mike Costello opposed.

The findings will proceed to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for ratification or further review. LJCPA next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at a location to be determined. ◆