Board to mull Coast Blvd. town homes in La Jolla

Planning Commission to consider Coast Boulevard town homes with aesthetic nod to Green Dragon Colony Oct. 23

Aesthetic elements of three historic cottages off Coast Boulevard that were demolished in 1992 could soon be seen in a new residential development proposed along Coast Boulevard, adjacent Goldfish Café and below Eddie V’s steakhouse.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 the San Diego Planning Commission will consider plans to build three detached town homes at 1241, 1245 and 1249 Coast Blvd., each bearing the name of a cottage that once belonged to La Jolla’s Green Dragon artist colony on the slope between Coast Boulevard and Prospect Street: The East-Cliff, Gables and the Jack O’ Lantern.

The commission will consider approving planned, coastal and site development permits for the project (No. 224418), which includes deviations to allow for residential space on the ground floor where retail would normally be required, and the construction of three new driveways along Coast Boulevard where typically only one driveway per 100 feet of street frontage is allowed.

The site is 72 percent developed with Eddie V’s, Goldfish Café and two office/retail buildings, while the remaining, irregularly-shaped 28 percent vacant land would contain the town homes.

In 2011, both La Jolla’s Development Permit Review Committee and La Jolla Community Planning Association approved the plans (by Alcorn & Benton Architects).

As a condition for allowing demolition of the early 1900s cottages — which were by then deteriorating and included another, the Dolly Varden — the state imposed special conditions and a deed restriction on future development of the site.

The restriction includes a provision that any future development include, “to the extent feasible,” certain historic character-defining elements that were present on the Green Dragon Colony cottages, including: board and batten siding, river bottom stonework on exposed foundations, bungalow style windows, gable, hip and shallow pitched roofs and covered decks and porches.

The size of the proposed town homes is: East-Cliff (two bedrooms, 2,267 square feet); Gables (three bedrooms, 2,938 square feet) and Jack O’ Lantern (four bedrooms 2,340 square feet).

The units would be accessed from Coast Boulevard via three 12-foot wide driveways. A total of 12 on-site parking spaces are proposed where only nine are required. Other project components include the construction of a four-foot wide, vertical public stairway from Prospect Street to Coast Boulevard, between the Gables and Jack O’ Lantern — meeting a requirement of the special conditions that is consistent with the La Jolla Community Plan’s recommendation for a public access-way through the site.

Retaining walls that vary in height from 2 feet to 10 feet are proposed along only a portion of Coast Boulevard, replacing an existing, up to 15-foot high retaining wall that is currently located along Coast Boulevard in excess of allowable height limits.

Planning Commission staff has recommended the environmental document for the project be certified, and the permits approved.

German-born teacher Anna Held (who moved to La Jolla in 1894) founded the Green Dragon Colony on land she purchased near La Jolla Cove for $165. The first of the colony’s cottages was built around a fireplace Held built from stones gathered on the bluffs. It was designed by her friend, Irving Gill, for $15.

The colony once included 11 cottages, including a boat-shaped structure with portholes called “The Ark,” and the “Doll’s House,” built to house Held’s collection of 200 dolls.

In the mid-1980s, La Jolla architect Bob Mosher sought unsuccessfully to develop a 41-room hotel on the Green Dragon site.

The San Diego Planning Commission meets 9 a.m. Thursday Oct 23 at the City of San Diego Administration Building, 202 C Street, 12th floor (City Council Chambers).