La Jolla DRP denies Ricardo Place addition

Plans for a 807-square-foot, second-story addition to the 2,802-square-foot residence at 314 Ricardo Place were denied by the La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee at its Oct. 17 meeting at the Rec Center.

In his second DPR presentation, architect Bill Metz claimed that all previously requested reductions and step-backs had been addressed. But neighbors took vocal issue with this. Claiming to represent himself and 13 surrounding homeowners, Allie Simon presented signed letters calling for a step-back of 10 to 20 feet from the existing structure — significantly greater than what Metz presented.

“There’s a precedent to be set if there’s a step forward that could be carried forward in other construction in the future,” Simon said. “We want the second story stepped back to preserve our views.”

Another neighbor, whom Simon did not claim to represent, complained about a lack of privacy and gutter lines depositing rainwater into his yard.

At one point, property owner Pat Robbins got out of her seat to address the swelling discontent. “We felt we compromised,” she said, “and then Bill suggested, to really seal this deal, ‘Why don’t we bring this roof down a foot?’ We thought we did everything you asked.”

When Simon tried to interrupt her, Robbins snapped: “No, I’m talking now!”

After the committee also expressed concerns, DPR chair Mike Costello advised Robbins: “If I were you, I wouldn’t ask for a vote.” Yet she did anyway, suggesting that Metz was being paid handsomely for his time.

The vote was 5 to 1 against, with Costello abstaining.

“There’s no law prohibiting it,” Costello explained of the upper floor as proposed, “but once you start seeing this thing, you’ve got a moral obligation.”

The vote goes next to the La Jolla Community Planning Association, unless the property owner returns with another plan. “We will discuss that,” Metz told the committee.

Also at the meeting, structural engineer Hamid Liaghat made a second courtesy presentation to the board concerning his plans to relocate an eight-foot sewer easement, serving 18 homes, at 7520 Hillside Drive. The committee refused to allow a vote because of the revelation of a house attached to the same project number.

“We can’t approve the sewer easement if it also has a house involved with it,” explained DPR member Brian Will, “because we now know that it’s not all this project is.” (Involvement of a house requires notifying the neighbors.)

“I really feel bad about this whole thing,” Costello said. “It’s all a matter of a silly notification.”

Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee next meets 4 p.m. Tues., NOv. 14 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.; lajollacpa.org.

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