La Jolla community planners approve Starbucks patio plans


By Pat Sherman

During its July meeting, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) green-lighted Starbucks’ plan to add an outdoor patio to its location at 1055 Torrey Pines Road, but were seeing red over the color of the Devonshire House condos at the corner of Eads Avenue and Silverado Street.

LJCPA members say the dark ruddy color of Devonshire House, painted in July 2011, does not comply with La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance (PDO), the community’s blueprint for development.

A motion was passed to have LJCPA President Tony Crisafi draft a letter to the city urging that it enforce the PDO in regard to this property.

Kris McMillan, who owns one of 64 units in the building, said a few members of Devonshire’s homeowner association board approved the color change without community input. In an e-mail sent to the board in June 2011, McMillan said the color, named Smokey Mountain … “did not construe in my mind the bright red, fake brick tone of the terra cotta color being used.”

McMillan said there is talk about repainting the exterior, but little money in the association’s reserve fund for the job.

Starbucks’ new gathering space:

Though some LJCPA members expressed concern about impacts to traffic flow along Torrey Pines Road from a Starbucks location near the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and Girard Avenue, the board unanimously approved the design of its proposed patio.

The board voted that findings could be made for a coastal development permit and site development permit to construct a 1,099-square-foot patio, which would replace a former bank drive-thru. The LJCPA motion included a provision that Starbucks construct a sidewalk and curb to city standards that would replace the drive-thru entrance (currently blocked off by large planters).

The patio will have a wooden railing, banquette seating, couches, heaters and “subdued lighting” that won’t create a disruptive glare for neighbors or traffic passing by on Torrey Pines Road, said Starbucks representative Elizabeth Valerio.

LJCPA trustee Myrna Naegle said she worried about vehicles entering and exiting the building’s two driveways on Torrey Pines Road, given the high volume of traffic along that stretch, though fellow trustees Patrick Ahearn and Phil Merten said they find it easy to get in and out of the driveways when heading north on Torrey Pines Road.

Ahearn said many patrons, including residents and those from the adjacent language school, walk to the establishment, adding that he believes it will create “a sense of community and of place.”

LJCPA Vice-chair Joe LaCava said the Starbucks and adjoining Chipotle restaurant may prevent some of the language students from darting across the bustling street to visit other lunch and break spots. “I’m surprised nobody got killed (before),” LaCava said.

In other LJCPA news

Subcommittee attendance

: Several items that would normally have landed on the LJCPA’s consent agenda, wound up on its regular agenda for discussion, because there was no quorum at recent meetings of the Traffic and Transportation Board (T&T) and the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC).

President Crisafi said he represented the PRC on one item, while La Jolla Shores Association President Tim Lucas represented the T&T board on several others, both in an ex-officio capacity.

“I’ve had several discussions with the city regarding the ex-officio rule,” Crisafi said. “I and others believe that that was the correct use of that rule under Robert’s Rules of Order and our bylaws. The city thought that I should place these items as action items so that if there were any objections or any additional information that the public would want they would have the opportunity to do that under the Community Planning Association.”

Crisafi urged committee members to attend the sub-committee and joint-committee meetings so that the LJCPA can take action on projects.

“Otherwise,” he said, “they’re going to end up on our agenda and we’re not going to be able to do our regular business the way we’re used to doing it.”

Consent agenda items approved July 10 include:

— A site development permit to remodel and construct a 6,000-

square-foot, two-story addition to a 3,775-square-foot residence (for a total of total 9,733 square feet) at

8445 La Jolla Scenic Drive (Dimenstein residence).

— Approval of street closures for the End of Summer Fire Run on Aug. 25, and the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival on Dec. 8.

— Approval of a proposed “Titan Cream” paint color for the Goodwill store building at 7631 Girard Ave.

— Extension of time to obtain a coastal development permit to construct a 5,766-square-foot single-family home on a vacant, 25-acre site at 77235 Carrizo Drive (Jasak residence).

Venter Institute ducts

: In regard to questions raised about the new J. Craig Venter Institute, under construction near the UC San Diego campus, it was noted that the color of the photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof will be blue, and will cover the current white roofing

LJCPA trustee Gail Forbes said two large, square ducts on the building appear to be situated at an angle where they would be blowing air toward residences across the street.

“I agree it looks terrible as it sits now, all those cooling towers, … (but) they’ll be covered with wood baffling (partition),” said Bob Friedman, Venter Institute’s chief operating officer, who was in attendance. “All that green that you see on the building … will be Spanish Cedar. We just haven’t gotten to the stage where the wood siding and the wood baffling is covering everything.”

Friedman said the duct encasing Forbes mentioned would be expelling water vapor.

He said the building is designed to be ultra-efficient.

“The actual heating and cooling uses about 15 percent of the energy of a typical building, so there’s actually much less mechanical stuff there to make noise,” Friedman said. “We purchased the quietest cooling towers on the market and we also oversized them so that the fan speeds could run slower.

“It is a building, and we have to heat and cool it,” he added, “but we tried to keep it as efficient and as quiet as we could.”

Home height concern

: Trustee David Little expressed concern that the owner of a residential building on Nautilus Street at Draper Avenue may have exceeded the city’s height limit of 30 feet, and that an umbrella atop it brings the height to about 38 feet.

President Crisafi said he viewed the plans on file with the city, and that they comply with Proposition D, the coastal height limit ordinance. “I don’t know if the


complies, other than the fact that I have an e-mail from (the office of District 1 City Council representative Sherri Lightner) that said the building inspector confirmed that it complies with Prop. D heights and the zoning,” Crisafi said.

Little said he was told by Lightner’s office that the building height was measured from the floor of the existing garage, and not from the existing grade.

“The problem is the existing garage is also on fill,” Little said.

Anyone concerned about the project can view plans on the second floor of the city operations building, 1222 First Ave. in downtown San Diego.

Bylaws update

: Trustees approved the minor rewording to LJCPA bylaws approved by its membership during the March meeting. The city-suggested rephrasing is intended to improve legibility and consistency with the city’s land development code. To view the changes, visit

Mary, Star of the Sea Fall Festival

: LJCPA members approved a road closure for Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church’s Fall Festival, to include performers, venders, crafts and a beer garden inside the school grounds.

The event, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, involves closing Kline Street between Girard and Ivanhoe avenues. The closures were approved with the stipulation that lights or reflectors be added to a roadblock at the intersection of Herschel Avenue to assure motorists can see the street is blocked-off as it gets dark.