La Jolla community planners laud revised residential projects


By Pat Sherman

The La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) approved two residential development projects during its Sept. 5 meeting that had been previously called into question at the subcommittee level by some residents.

LJCPA trustees first heard a presentation on the Sudberry Residence in La Jolla Shores. Though the project was approved during the July meeting of the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC), it was pulled from the LJCPA’s consent agenda for further discussion last month by LJCPA board member Janie Emerson (a PRC member who cast the lone vote against the project in July, based on its bulk and scale relative to the neighborhood).

Officials with the University of California, San Diego raised concerns this summer that the project might negatively impact an adjacent residence the university was deeded by its owner, Sally McMurray.

McMurray said heavy machinery used during previous renovations to the Sudberry property caused thousands of dollars in damage to her water pipes.

Project architect and LJCPA president Toni Crisafi (recusing himself from his role as a voting LJCPA board member) assisted his colleague at Island Architects, Haley Bareisa, in the presentation.

Since July, Bareisa said, Island Architects has increased the distance between the northern property line and a covered terrace by more than 10 feet — one of many revisions to the project during the past few years.

UCSD Principal Community Planner Anu Delouri read a statement on behalf of the university saying that after “productive and collaborative meetings” with the Sudberry family and its consultants, which resulted in plan revisions and “measures to minimize disruptions and inconveniences to Mrs. McMurray during construction … UCSD is confident a mutual agreement will be finalized in the near future.”

LJCPA trustees ultimately voted 13-0-3 that findings could be made to approve coastal and site development permit amendments to demolish the existing Sudberry residence at 8053 Calle del Cielo, and a portion of their adjacent residence, to construct a two-level home that would occupy both lots.

LJCPA trustee Phil Merten said the project was an “excellent example” of how to add a second-level using setbacks and articulation to minimize its impact. He said the design is what is called for in the La Jolla Community Plan and La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance.

After hearing the presentation, Emerson voted in favor of the project, thanking the architects for being responsive to her concerns.

Bonair Street about-face

Things were looking grim for a proposed residential development at the end of Bonair Street (near the La Jolla Bike Path) during July meetings of La Jolla’s Development Permit Review (DPR) committee, at which a DPR member referred to the design as “particularly ungracious.”

In July, DPR members twice voted 5-0-1 to oppose the project, based on its bulk and scale, drainage issues, driveway access and lot layout.

However, the project received largely glowing praise during the recent LJCPA meeting, following plan revisions that included the removal of a third-story stairwell (reducing the height by five feet), and efforts to make the project tighter and more consistent with the neighborhood.

Architect Dan Linn and project representative and LJCPA Vice-Chair Joe LaCava (who recused himself from the vote) led a presentation that resulted in LJCPA trustees voting 10-4-1 that findings could be made for a coastal development permit, tentative map and variance to demolish an existing duplex on the site and construct three, three-story detached single-family residences of 1,929 to 2,185 square feet. (The variance was requested to maintain two existing driveways, where only one would currently be allowed.) Linn recently recruited LaCava, a land-use and planning consultant, to help him polish and revise his presentation.

Though some residents at the DPR meetings in July questioned whether the project fit into the neighborhood, LaCava said Bonair Street is “probably the most eclectic collection of development,” in La Jolla, with flexible zoning.

“It is literally a hopscotch of development,” LaCava said, adding that the project replicates the single-family home aesthetic of other condos and projects on Bonair Street.

“It is up against the bike path,” LaCava said, adding that this paved section of the bike path is “not very pretty.” LaCava added that there are no public view corridors on the bike path that would be blocked (as some had suggested during the DPR meetings).

Though several LJCPA trustees suggested that the project was so different from what was presented to the DPR committee that it should return there for further discussion, LaCava argued that the changes weren’t significant enough to delay the project at the subcommittee level any longer.

Though project opponent and DPR member Mike Costello said it appears like “three shipping containers stacked next to each other,” trustee Fran Zimmerman said she believes the design is a “big improvement” over the existing structures, and “an attractive addition to the neighborhood.”

Trustee Jim Fitzgerald said he appreciated that the architect designed three separate units, instead of one large structure, which, though allowed, would have less visual appeal.

In other LJCPA news

Environmental doc released

: It was noted that a draft mitigated negative declaration (environmental document) for the proposed

Gaxiola residence

is available for review online. The owners are seeking to demolish an existing home at 2414 Calle de Oro and construct a 5,543-square-foot, two-story single-family residence with a four-car garage, basement and swimming pool. The deadline to submit comments is Sept. 24. View the document at

Road narrowing on Upper Girard

: Trustee Zimmerman said she was surprised that she hadn’t heard about ongoing road construction on Upper Girard Avenue near La Jolla Elementary and the Gillispie School before reading about it in

La Jolla Light.

Zimmerman said narrowing that section of the street, which would reduce it to one lane in either direction, would cause “a tremendous backing up of cars on Girard.”

“This decision was made four years ago,” she said. “When projects are drawn out to such great lengths, we need some (more) information about their (status).”

Trustees LaCava and Merten argued that the road, for all intent and purposes, is only one lane in either direction now.

President Crisafi said he would contact the chair of La Jolla’s Traffic and Transportation Board to ask if they will consider reviewing their earlier decision to approve the work.

Committee to address vacation rentals

: A new LJCPA ad hoc committee will study the issue of short-term vacation rentals in La Jolla, which have led to noise and parking complaints in recent years. Serving on the committee are Jim Fitzgerald, Bob Steck, Tom Brady, David Little, Patrick Ahern and newly appointed DPR member Alex Outwater.