La Jolla planners approve Shores home plans, Cove Pavilion concept

Annual La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee election: 3-7 p.m. March 5


During its Feb. 5 meeting, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) approved plans for a proposed two-story Shores’ home that the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC) previously rejected, due to the project’s bulk and scale and nonconforming front setback.

The since scaled-down design presented to the LJCPA during the meeting at La Jolla Rec Center showed a reduced floor-area ratio (FAR) — the size of a structure relative to its lot — from .85 to .81 and increased front yard setback that conforms with those of other homes in the vicinity. The project, at 8374 Paseo del Ocaso, involves demolition of an existing 1,624 square-foot, single-story home and construction of a 4,275 square-foot, two-story home with a basement and solar panels.

LJCPA trustee Phil Merten, who chairs the PRC and abstained from that group’s January vote, noted that the PRC liked the articulation, shape and form of the building (and found them to be in accord with the La Jolla Community Plan), although it had problems with the front setback and floor-area ratio.

Merten said the setback “is now in general conformity with those in the vicinity” and the FAR is lower than several homes on the street previously approved by the LJCPA.

“It’s still larger than some members of the La Jolla Shores PRC would like to see,” Merten noted, though adding, “I think the adjustments they’ve made here are quite good and … the building will fit into the street-scape nicely.”

Merten made a motion that findings could be made to approve the project, which was seconded by trustee Bob Steck, who also serves on the Shores’ PRC. The motion passed by a vote of 12-0-2.

In other LJCPA news

Cove Pavilion plans approved: Following a presentation on the proposed replacement of the public restroom in Scripps Park (aka Cove Pavilion), the LJCPA approved a motion by trustee Patrick Ahern (also of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches group) to approve the Cove Pavilion concept presented by Safide Rabines Architects “and to consider reducing the size in order to enhance the view corridor.” It passed 12-1-1, with trustee Janie Emerson in opposition.

The motion will allow the Cove Pavilion committee and Safdie Rabines to move forward with a design and cost estimate, which it will vet with Parks & Beaches and present to the LJCPA at a later date.

The facility’s size was questioned during the LJCPA meeting by trustee Merten, who asked whether it needs the proposed 18 restrooms, which he said makes the project wider than it might otherwise be, blocking views to the ocean.

“It’s definitely ... significantly larger than the existing one,” conceded Architect Taal Safdie, noting a previous design was thinner and more linear, but presented other issues.

Safdie and project organizer Judy Adams Halter both noted that the public called for more restrooms at the site to accommodate the increase in population and tourists since the original facility was built in 1967.

However, Merten said that both of the new pavilion projects at La Jolla Shores have fewer restrooms and accommodate “many more people than will probably ever be at this location,” and seem ample to accommodate beach-goers.

“I like the building, I like the concept (but) I think it’s too big,” Merten said. Safdie agreed that taking a second look at the facility’s size and the restroom requirement was warranted.

Election and bylaws change: LJCPA is gearing up for its annual trustee election, 3-7 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. This year, 14 candidates are vying for seven open seats; their statements can be read at

LJCPA president Joe LaCava said that, unlike previous years, candidate statements will not be posted at the Rec Center. “So read up, be prepared,” LaCava cautioned. “We’re going to keep the room clean, as the election guidelines call for.”

Photo ID required: In addition, LaCava said those who do not present a photo ID will not be permitted to vote. To assure as “clean” an election as possible, LaCava said La Jolla’s city-appointed community planner, Karen Bucey, will be at the polls to monitor the voting, in addition to LJCPA’s trustee election committee. All committee members and poll volunteers are required to read the election guidelines beforehand.

LJCPA may also present proposed bylaws changes during the March 5 meeting, for a vote of its general membership. LaCava told La Jolla Light via e-mail that the city directed all planning groups to update their bylaws to be consistent with its update to City Council Policy 600-24, which was adopted Nov. 14, 2014.

“The city offered to do the initial drafting of the bylaws for consistency and offer it to the LJCPA for our consideration,” LaCava said. “We are working with the city on that draft; it is still a work in progress. The draft will go to the LJCPA’s ad hoc bylaw committee first and we hope to be able to present it at the annual member meeting March 5.”

Other changes suggested by individuals, including several procedural changes offered by trustee Mike Costello on Feb. 5, will need to be considered once the newly elected trustees are seated in April, and the ad hoc bylaw committee is reset, LaCava said.

Bird Rock bluff fix update: Justin Garver, a representative with the office of San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner, noted that a lawsuit against the city has been settled, freeing up funding to proceed with planned stabilization of a coastal bluff at the foot of Midway Drive in Bird Rock (caused by storms in 2004 and 2005).

“This had created a safety issue that mandated the bluff be fenced off,” Garver said. “The city now has design plans to repair the erosion of the bluffs and to restore the viewpoint area on top, with new fences and drought-resistant landscaping. Engineering hopes to begin construction in the fall.”

Whale Watch Way delay: Appeal of a proposed home designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Zaha Hadid that some consider too space-aged for La Jolla Shores has been postponed to a San Diego Planning Commission hearing sometime in the future (possibly April 16). The ultra-modern home proposed for 8490 Whale Watch Way has been rejected several times by the LJCPA and PRC.

Sacido appeal set for March 26: A project rejected by the LJCPA’s Development Permit Review (DPR) committee after several presentations has been subsequently approved by a city hearing officer. That decision is being appealed to the Planning Commission by a neighbor and the LJCPA.

The project, at 901 and 911 Skylark Drive (adjacent properties) involves a lot line adjustment to allow construction of retaining walls, ramps, a pool and spa, staircase, deck and guest quarters. The applicant originally proposed two guest quarters, though removed one as a concession to the DPR, which had other concerns, including a perceived lack of parking.

To read more about the project, visit