Planning panel says no to La Jolla Farms project


By Dave Schwab

A dispute over the size of a nearly 24,000-square-foot development on a 1.5-acre lot in La Jolla Farms remains unresolved.

On Tuesday a motion by the La Jolla planning subcommittee Nov. 15 to recommend approval of the Encore Trust project failed on a 3-4 vote. No further action was taken.

The first vote ended in a tie with La Jolla Development Permit Review (DPR) committee members Laura Ducharme Conboy, Cindy Thorsen and Bob Collins voting for the project, and Mike Costello, Beth Gaenzle and Diane Kane voting against. Subcommittee chair Paul Benton broke the tie with his no vote after noting neighbors had raised serious issues about the project’s impacts on views.

“This house would be fabulous in Rancho Santa Fe, but it would be a travesty here to block those (ocean) views forever,” said neighbor Lynn Bruser.

Kane said “In my mind this is a destination resort,” adding that large-scale, single-family developments in La Jolla are increasingly becoming multi-family.

On the other side of the vote was Collins, who said the project is “a big house” but that it conforms with community and city regulations and therefore shouldn’t be opposed.

It was the fourth committee meeting and second vote on the project, DPR members originally approved unanimously without any public dissent. When opposition surfaced, the project was remanded back to the committee by the La Jolla Community Planning Association, which makes land-use recommendations to the city.

Joe LaCava, representing the applicant — and a member of the planning group — would not comment after the meeting other than to say their side remained open to neighbors’ suggestions.

Some neighbors, represented by La Jolla architect Tony Crisafi — who chairs the community planning group — and attorney Evelyn Heidelberg of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, opposed the project saying they fear it is oversized for the usable portion of its lot, much of which is sloped, and will obscure public ocean views.

(Crisafi and LaCava will not be able to vote on the matter when it reaches the planning group.)

The project will be reheard at the planning association meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at La Jolla Rec Center.