Bird Rock Station, 5 years in the making, finally gets Planning Commission green light
by Dave Schwab
Published - 07/03/13 - 04:04 PM | 2837 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A two-story version of mixed-use Bird Rock Station, a project that drew strident opposition when originally proposed as three stories, passed by a unanimous vote of the Planning Commission without public opposition on June 27.

“I truly do hate this project,” planning commissioner Tim Golba, a La Jolla architect, said half-jokingly. “Eight years ago at my first meeting as planning group chair, this was on the docket and at least 300 people showed up in opposition and there were three TV stations there and Mike Aguirre (former city attorney) showed up and grabbed the mic out of my hand and took control of the meeting and I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ ”

Noting the lack of public opposition this time around to the proposed retail-condominium development in the heart of Bird Rock, Golba added, “This project has been a long time coming. It’s a testament to patience and perseverance that developers were able to transform what was a completely different building, a completely different project, and make it work.”

Golba described Bird Rock Station as “a missing cog on that street” (La Jolla Boulevard), which is known for its roundabouts and landscaped medians.

The reconstituted project consists of 10 residential units above two commercial units on less than half an acre at 5702 La Jolla Blvd.

Claude-Anthony Marengo, spokes-man for developer Michael Krambs, said, “[Project review] was pretty uneventful with the community plan group and we’re very proud to make that statement.”

Darcy Ashley, former La Jolla Town Council president who lives directly behind the project, lauded the applicant for working with neighbors.

“The applicant has been wonderful in addressing all the concerns we had about the project and we’re happy to say we support that project,” she said.

In a parting shot, Golba commented, “It’s thrilling to think it (Bird Rock Station) may be finally out of my life.”

In other Planning Commission news:

• An appeal of previous approval of environmental and planning permitting to demolish Mitt and Ann Romney’s residence and build a new 11,000-square-foot, two-story residence on the property was withdrawn, and the city Planning Commission approved the redevelopment project June 27.

Amy Van Buskirk, daughter of the previous owner of the property at 311 Dunemere Drive in the Beach-Barber Tract, told the commission, “At no time was there ever public access to a private walkway on the project,” a matter that had been disputed.

The former presidential candidate and his wife bought the oceanfront property before his candidacy. Their plans to redevelop and enlarge the property met with opposition from some neighbors.

The Romneys’ expansion plans were unanimously approved by the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

“It’s rare that you get a unanimous vote from a planning group,” said commission chairman Eric Naslund, noting “the size of this project is significantly less than what could have been placed there.”

• The Planning Commission on June 27 approved permitting and rezoning, to allow Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla to begin a phased expansion in a 25-year master plan.

The Scripps campus is slightly more than 41 acres at 9888 Genesee Ave. off Interstate 5.

Proposed hospital renovations include new construction totaling more than 814,000 square feet, with demolition of more than 533,000 square feet of existing structures, to create new medical office space concentrating outpatient and inpatient care to streamline service.

— Dave Schwab
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