UCSD considers impact of La Jolla Shores home remodel on university’s adjacent property


By Pat Sherman

Officials with the University of California, San Diego are concerned that a proposed home rebuild in La Jolla Shores could negatively impact an adjacent residence the university was deeded by its owner, Sally McMurray.

Owners of the Sudberry residence, which occupies two adjoining lots at 8039 and 8053 Calle del Cielo, are seeking coastal and site development permit amendments to demolish their existing residence at 8053 Calle del Cielo and a portion of their adjacent residence. In turn, they wish to construct a two-level home that would occupy both lots, and add various improvements.

The new development would replace an existing 8,255 square feet with a single structure of 16,926 square feet (including a subterranean garage and walk-in “basement”) on a lot of approximately 44,000 square feet.

Addressing the July meeting of the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee (PRC), Anu Delouri with the UCSD’s Department of Physical and Community Planning said the university has concerns with the size and proximity of the proposed development in relation to UCSD’s adjacent, 3,000-square foot home (where McMurray still resides). UCSD is also concerned about potential impacts from the demolition and construction — primarily those defined in a report by the project’s geotechnical consultant.

“What he said was that the grading as proposed will not measurably destabilize the neighboring properties,” Delouri said. “It won’t measurably do it, but there’s no guarantee that that won’t happen — and of course, that will have to be seen as the project progresses.”

A California Environmental Quality Act report on the project hasn’t yet been completed, which also has university officials concerned about undisclosed impacts.

Though Delouri said the university was OK with the committee approving design of the project, it would like to see language added to any project approval that is forwarded to the city to address UCSD’s concerns, and to safeguard its property from damage (language that would have to be added by the overarching La Jolla Community Planning Association, as the PRC said it does not add written conditions to its approvals.)

Delouri said Mrs. McMurray — who has health problems — is also concerned about potential noise from a six-car garage that would be directly next to her home, as well as dust and noise during demolition and construction.

UCSD officials sent Island Architects a list of 17 mostly “customary” items they are requesting of the project, Delouri said.

PRC member Laura DuCharme-Conboy asked if a portion of the plans in which the ceiling measures 13 feet could be lowered by a foot. Project architect Tony Crisafi said his clients would likely agree to that.

The project had already been reduced in scale from plans presented to the PRC several years ago, which called for a three-story structure on one lot. Though Crisafi noted that the Sudberry family purchased the adjacent lot to spread the project out and reduce its visual impact, PRC members still struggled with its considerable size.

“It’s a very big house on two lots that are being combined,” PRC member Tim Lucas said. “I have a thing about big houses going up in my neighborhood, but I think it meets all the codes.”

DuCharme-Conboy said open, covered terraces and the reduction of the project by a foot would help reduce its impact. “I think you’ve softened it as much as you could from the behemoth that it could have become,” she said.

In the end, the PRC voted 4-1 that findings could be made for the required permit amendments, with member Janie Emerson opposing the project due to lingering concerns about its mass. Though Emerson said she liked the design, she said she feels it is out of character with the neighborhood.

During the Aug. 1 meeting of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), Emerson pulled the item from the consent agenda for later LJCPA discussion.

Delouri said UCSD could retain ownership of Mrs. McMurray’s home or sell it at a later date to raise money for the university.