Prominent La Jollans rally over 18 inches at permit meeting

Scripps Estates resident David Amitai reads a letter from Carolyn Revelle opposing construction plans submitted to the City for 2605 Ellentown Road.

A who’s who of La Jolla’s pioneering academic families swarmed the May 14 Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee meeting at the La Jolla Rec Center, including relatives of Walter Munk and Jonas Salk. The 10-strong group — comprising half the occupants of Meeting Room 1 — expressed their opposition to a project at 2605 Ellentown Road in Scripps Estates.

Architect Christian Rice, representing applicant Jason Kornberg, seeks a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to demolish the existing house there and build a 3,449-square-foot replacement with 462-square-foot attached garage and 701-square-foot companion unit.

At issue was 18 inches that an elevated deck will put the proposed structure over the community’s self-imposed 15-foot height limit, which is stated in the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) and enforced by its own architectural committee.

Scripps Estates is an exclusive enclave established in 1951 by La Jolla’s first elite group of academics including Scripps Institution of Oceanography oceanographer Munk and UC San Diego founder Roger Revelle.

“The declaration of restrictions they adopted has really preserved the quality and appearance of the neighborhood for the last 68 years,” said Scripps Estates board member Elizabeth Shepherd.

Resident David Amitai read a letter of support from Revelle’s daughter, Carolyn, while Edie Munk said, “It’s really distressing seeing someone coming in here and trying to wreck that vision.”

Resident Daniel Zelac claimed that the community’s architectural committee previously approved plans for the new house, but that there was a “last-minute switch” and the submittal to the City was not identical. “We were very distressed that when the plans were submitted to the City, the height restriction was violated,” he said.

Neighbor Benny Chien added: “It’s out of character with the neighborhood. We begged him to do a subfloor. We dug in 18 inches to create a lower height. He refused to do it. I offered to pay for it. It’s become an irrational position.”

After the complainants had their say, DPR chair Brian Will told the group: “We don’t form our decisions based on your CC&Rs, but it’s valuable information to talk about whether (the project) conforms to the character of the neighborhood.”

Rice was instructed to return to DPR with a landscaping plan, a subdivision map and information about street parking, among other things, and to try and convince his client to lower the house.

“I admit I haven’t done this particular meeting before, so I didn’t know what to bring,” Rice said. “We submitted all of these things to the City, but obviously, you guys don’t have them.”

DPR trustee Beth Gaenzle came right out and asked Rice: “Why won’t your client drop it that 18 inches?”

Rice replied: “I don’t think he’s opposed to it … I’m certainly going to do my best to convince him to make these modifications. It has been a challenging project so far.”

Applicant’s rep Bryn Young presents her client’s case for a permit to build a companion unit at 441 Palomar Ave.

In other DPR news…

  • Companion unit granted: A CDP for a 540-square-foot companion unit was unanimously approved for the single-family residence at 441 Palomar Ave. on its second review. Applicant’s rep Bryn Young informed the committee that Mayor Kevin Faulconer “has been doing a lot of work” to help waive permitting fees for companion units. “Also, he has said he’s going to budget $300,000 for this type of project to decrease fees more.”
  • Reviewing its own: DPR trustee Matthew Welsh recused himself in order to present a request for a CDP, Site Development Permit and Neighborhood Development Permit to relocate a historic La Jolla cottage from 7762 Bishops Lane to 817 Silverado Street. The committee fast-tracked the project, voting unanimously to make the preliminary review final, and also to recommend the project.
  • Time’s up: Applicant’s rep Jin Kim, seeking an extension for a CDP for a lot-line adjustment for a project at 1550 Via Corona, which expired in March, was told to return with aerial photos/renderings showing the lot lines before and after, and a more extensive explanation of why the lot-line adjustment is being requested and why the extension is necessary.
  • Pool pulls out: On the agenda was a review to determine whether an already-constructed 30-inch-high retaining wall around the Children’s Pool lifeguard station conformed to relevant permits, a request prompted by the California Coastal Commission. However, City officials were unable to present.— DPR next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect. St.