Although the planning commission postponed Bird Rock Station at the June 12 meeting, members listened to La Jollans speak about the project. The plans show retail space at ground level and residential units on both levels above, but neighbors have objected to the idea of three stories since the project's inception.
"We got through the applicant's presentation and some of the opponents," Planning Commissioner Tim Golba said. "We'll pick it up when they come back again on Thursday."
Bird Rock Station, a mixed-use condominium-retail project planned for 5702 La Jolla Blvd., proposed three stories in its initial planning stage.
Project architect Mark Lyon spoke to the public at the June LJCPA meeting. Neighbors and LJCPA members questioned Lyon about different issues, including window height "” nearby neighbors on Chelsea Avenue said they're concerned the project will invade their privacy.
Chelsea Avenue neighbors Darcy Ashley and Michael McCaughey, living behind the proposed project, said they are concerned about the design, mainly about the top level, including a proposed balcony and windows facing their street.
"I did like the fact that the condos were set back quite a bit," McCaughey said. "But it all comes down to privacy issues. I'm appealing to the developer's sense of being a decent person."
Lyon said the new design addresses neighbors' concerns by freeing space to move windows to face commercial areas.
During the LJCPA meeting, Lyon fielded many questions, but members voted to reject the project by a vote of 7-4-1, stating that it doesn't comply with the current Planned District Ordinance (PDO), including but not limited to incorporation of a third story in the design. The group also said that the public benefits were insufficient to justify deviations requested by Lyon and owner Michael Krambs.
LJCPA members agreed with citizens in attendance, saying they were fearful that approving three-story buildings in that zone of Bird Rock would establish a precedent. Lastly, the motion said that while Lyon claimed the three-story element is merely a deviation, the group contended it should require a variance.
Many group members, including LJCPA President Joe LaCava, attended Thursday's planning commission meeting. Although LJCPA's vote to reject Bird Rock Station advises the planning commission, the commission's vote is final, Golba said.
"The decision-making body is the planning group. However, if someone should appeal, they have 10 days to appeal to the city council," Golba said. "So, in September, it could show up at the city council."
Because the city's planning commission couldn't hear both sides of Bird Rock Station, the project was continued until today, June 19.
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