La Jolla planning group OKs Lower Hermosa home project and sends two in Bird Rock back to subcommittee

Applicant representative Mark House shows plans to renovate a home at 5960 Camino de la Costa in La Jolla.
Applicant representative Mark House shows plans to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee in May to renovate a home at 5960 Camino de la Costa.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Three home projects in southern La Jolla — two in Bird Rock and one in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood — were up for review by the La Jolla Community Planning Association on Aug. 3. Only one left with an affirmative vote, while the others were referred to the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee for additional scrutiny.

5960 Camino de la Costa

The lone project that left with LJCPA support calls for coastal development and site development permits to remodel a 6,807-square-foot, two-story single-family home at 5960 Camino de la Costa in Lower Hermosa. The project includes new back and side yard terraces, a new pool and spa, a balcony and hardscape work, including new site walls.

Applicant representative Mark House addressed concerns about scenic overlooks and how views would be affected, saying, “We are not blocking any of those views” and that the proposed development is “a small addition.”

Nevertheless, questions arose about view corridors to the ocean.

La Jollan Melinda Merryweather sought confirmation that the ocean view from the street would be preserved.

“There are views on either side of the property,” House said. “You will see the blue part of the ocean, but not the sand.”

He added that setbacks are larger than what is recommended.

A rendering depicts how much of a proposed home project at 5960 Camino de la Costa would be visible from a nearby street.
A rendering depicts how much of a proposed home project at 5960 Camino de la Costa (outlined in yellow) would be visible from a nearby street.
(Photo by Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

There was a brief debate about whether heights presented for the project were calculated properly. La Jolla architect Trace Wilson argued that there are two ridge lines on the property — “the upper ridge line, which is [over] the garage, and the lower ridge line over the main body of the house, which is four feet lower than the upper ridge line.” He said he wanted clarity about the point from which additional height was measured.

Because the house would be within allowable heights regardless of where the additional height is placed, Wilson said he wanted to talk to the applicant about the heights outside of the meeting.

With House’s assurance that the project meets applicable building codes, LJCPA voted 11-3 to support it, with trustees Patrick Ahern, Larry Davidson and Suzanne Weissman opposing without comment. President Harry Bubbins customarily abstained.

The proposal went before local reviewers last year, when some people who live in the area had concerns about increased roof height and whether the proposed terraces would block views of the ocean.

In May this year, the Development Permit Review group, an LJCPA subcommittee, gave its support to the project after hearing that the planned roof had been lowered by six inches and the remodel would add only 292 square feet throughout the property.

625 Wrelton Drive

A renovation proposal for 625 Wrelton Drive in Bird Rock is going back to the DPR Committee. The plan includes a 186-square-foot first-floor addition, a 2,074-square-foot second-floor addition and a 115-square-foot third-story addition, along with decks.

Applicant representative Phil Quatrino told the DPR in May that the project would “open up the house to the exterior” and keep its footprint close to what currently exists. But the height, overall size and compatibility with the neighborhood worried some who attended.

Quatrino returned to the DPR on June 20 with images of how the property would look from the parking lot of the nearby Tourmaline Surfing Park. He did not present a streetscape showing the proposed development in relation to its neighbors or how height limits are being met.

After some debate about whether the committee had enough information to proceed, trustees voted 4-3 to recommend that the city of San Diego approve the project.

But at the LJCPA meeting, DPR member Mike Costello said the committee “had a list of deliverables that were not delivered.”

Quatrino spoke briefly to LJCPA about the project’s conformance to setback and view corridor requirements but declined to present further.

Others in attendance had questions about the development, and a motion to return the proposal to the DPR for further review passed 10-4, with Davidson and trustees Suzanne Baracchini, John Fremdling and Bob Steck opposed without comment.

5646 Chelsea Ave.

Also being sent back to the DPR Committee for more review is a project proposed for 5646 Chelsea Ave. in Bird Rock. It would demolish a two-story house and build a new two-story house with an attached garage, a basement and a roof deck along with an attached accessory dwelling unit.

During previous hearings, some trustees and members of the public said they had a hard time visualizing the plans and landscaping based on what was presented. However, the DPR endorsed the project 4-3 in June.

At the LJCPA meeting, homeowner Daniel Magy showed renderings similar to those presented to the DPR.

Some neighbors attending the meeting struggled with the overall size of the project and whether it conforms with the neighborhood. Others asked for more renderings and information.

Diane Kane, a trustee of both LJCPA and the DPR, said she originally voted against the project “for the very reasons the neighbors stated, which is that we had insufficient information. This is the first time I have seen renderings … and they are not contextual.”

LJCPA voted 13-1 to send the project back to the DPR for more review, with trustee Brian Will (who chairs the DPR) opposed without comment. ◆