La Jolla planning committee gives green light to large-scale project in La Jolla Farms

By Dave Schwab

A redevelopment, downscaled by 20 percent, which was proposed for a 1.5-acre lot in La Jolla Farms got the green light from community planners Feb. 14, overriding neighbors’ concerns that public ocean views would be spoiled by the project.

The vote by the La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) Committee was 5-3-1 for permitting for Encore Trust Residence at 9872 La Jolla Farms Road. The residence had previously been proposed for nearly 24,000 square feet.

Planners Diane Kane, Laura Ducharme-Conboy, Cindy Thorsen, Phil Merten and Lynn Hayes favored the revamped project. Mike Costello, Angeles Liera and Beth Gaenzle opposed it. Chairman Paul Benton abstained.

Joe LaCava, a La Jolla community planner representing the applicants, Martin and Michelle Weinberg, noted meetings with dissatisfied neighbors led to a separate proposed guest quarters being eliminated, and an existing beach path through the property being preserved.

LaCava characterized La Jolla Farms as an “eclectic mixture” of architectural styles with widely varying lot sizes ranging from .5 to 20-plus acres.

“This home fits in with that,” he argued.

Not everyone agreed.

Neighbor Jim Morris said the project would compromise existing public views, pointing out La Jolla’s community plan seeks to preserve and enhance those views.

“Public views, they’re not yours, they’re not mine — they’re everybody’s,” he said arguing one solution would be to sink the project deeper into the site so ocean views would be less obscured.

DPR committeemember Phil Merten argued any development in the area would obscure views o some extent.

Colleague Cindy Thorsen noted “all of the view is over private property now.”

Planner Mike Costello argued public ocean views are what people move to La Jolla for and should be preserved.

Architect Tony Crisafi, speaking on behalf of neighbors opposed to the project, suggested the project could — and should — be redesigned preserving the existing viewshed.

Attorney Evelyn Heidelberg of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, also representing neighbors, conceded downsizing the project is “getting closer” to appeasing neighbors’ concerns. But she added the project isn’t there yet.

“Views from the scenic roadway will be partially obstructed,” she argued. “There should be no degradation of public views from designated scenic overlooks.”

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