La Jolla Shores permit reviewers support Whale Watch Way home remodel and addition

A rendering depicts a proposed three-story, 9,435-square-foot house at 8421 Whale Watch Way.
(Photo by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A proposal for a home remodel and expansion that would result in a development more than twice the size of the current house got the approval of the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee on its first hearing April 20.

Plans include adding to the existing three-story, 3,834-square-foot house at 8421 Whale Watch Way to make it 9,435 square feet overall.

The project’s total square footage includes two garages and “phantom” floors (space that is not habitable but counts toward the floor area ratio), so applicant representative Aaron Borja said the house would have “just shy of 8,000 square feet” of habitable space — “the square footage you can walk around in.”

The current three-car garage would be reduced to two cars, and another garage that fits four cars is planned. While the homeowner would effectively have a six-car garage, it would look like double garage doors, Borja said.

Three stories are permitted in La Jolla Shores — unlike in the rest of La Jolla — if the development is less than 30 feet tall. Borja said the proposed project is under 30 feet and that only one area “comes within one foot of the maximum height, but it is at the top of the property.”

He said the bulk of the addition would be on the center courtyard and the second floor.

“We are not the largest house” in the area, but the project has the largest setback in the area at 109 feet, Borja said. “That is the furthest setback for houses within 300 feet.”

The house would “appear pretty small,” he said.

A rendering shows the view from the street of a proposed development at 8421 Whale Watch Way.
A rendering shows a view of a proposed development at 8421 Whale Watch Way, as presented to the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee.
(Photo by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

The current house was built in 1980 and therefore doesn’t qualify for historical review, which is triggered when a property is at least 45 years old.

The applicant team recently received its first round of comments from the city of San Diego, which Borja said were “minimal.” The homeowner is in the process of acquiring building permits, he said.

A motion to support the development passed the La Jolla Shores PRC 4-0.

Other PRC news

Calle del Cielo: The only other project on the April 20 agenda was postponed to a future meeting because not enough eligible committee members were present to vote.

The project would tear down a 4,545-square-foot single-family residence and an attached garage and build an 11,754-square-foot single-family home, garages and a pool at 8305 Calle del Cielo.

PRC Chairman Andy Fotsch of La Jolla-based Will & Fotsch Architects is the applicant representative and therefore would have to recuse himself from the board’s discussion of the project. Without him, the board did not have a quorum and could not vote.

The PRC previously took up the issue March 16, when David Odmark, the neighbor immediately north of the property, expressed concerns through his attorney Julie Hamilton.

The biggest issue, Hamilton said, is that the large windows on the back of the proposed house would “look right down into his master bedroom.”

The project would be “looming over the other houses in the area,” Hamilton added. “This is not a design issue. The issue [is] this house is huge.”

Without a quorum, Fotsch opted to postpone the hearing to a later date.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. The agenda will be posted 72 hours in advance at ◆