Planners approve former Copley property development, with stipulations

By Pat Sherman

During its Feb. 6 meeting, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) voted that findings could be made to approve permits for The Reserve development at 6850 Country Club Drive.

The 25-acre site adjacent the late David Copley’s Fox Hill estate is the final asset of the Copley publishing dynasty. It will be subdivided into two parcels, each to be sold and developed as estate homes (accompanied by strict design guidelines).

The majority of the property will be set aside as open space, which the new property owners will be responsible for maintaining, and liable for.

Though the project received unanimous approval by the Development Permit Review (DPR) committee in December, Kevin Johnson, an attorney representing three families in the La Jolla Summit development (overlooking The Reserve) requested the item be pulled from the LJCPA’s consent agenda in January.

After hearing a full presentation on the project by Alcorn & Benton Architects, LJCPA trustees approved the project with the stipulation that the city first conduct an environmental impact report, and that a substantial conformance review (SCR) be conducted for each of the estate homes’ plans.

An SCR is conducted to determine if a proposed project is consistent and in conformance with a previously approved permit, including a review of the project against previously approved exhibits, permit conditions, environmental documents and applicable land use policies.

LJCPA trustee and DPR member Phil Merten said an SCR “puts everything on the table for discussion,” as if the applicant were applying for a coastal development permit. Even if the project receives only a mitigated negative declaration, instead of a full environmental impact report, Merten said it would still require review by the LJCPA.

Johnson argued that the site was not suitable for development because of its environmentally sensitive condition, and would box in a canyon and vegetation.

He urged LJCPA trustees to consider alternate locations in The Reserve for the proposed estates, as well as further limiting the height and number of trees allowed.

“This is a high fire area, and this needs to be taken into consideration in terms of what is up there after the buildings are built,” he said. “It’s a sensitive parcel, and it’s something that needs to be very carefully factored into and studied.”

Project representative Greg Shannon said project representatives met with the fire marshal to address those concerns. Though architectural plans will not be produced until after the parcels are purchased, Shannon assured trustees that the buyers’ plans are required to go through the community review process.

Shannon said solar panels would be allowed in some areas, but had to be low-lying and not sticking up off structures.

In other LJCPA news

Children’s Pool closure

: Erin Demorest, a representative with the office of District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner, said the city council will consider the proposed closure of the beach at La Jolla Children’s Pool (aka Casa Beach) during the harbor seals pupping season, 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 in council chambers, 202 C St., 12th floor, in downtown San Diego.

The following day (Feb. 25) at 2 p.m. the city council will consider a revised

medical marijuana ordinance for San Diego

  1. Demorest said marijuana dispensaries would not be allowed in La Jolla and La Jolla Shores per each community’s planned district ordinances.