City approves highly visible Solana Beach residential development

By Claire Harlin

Solana Beach’s JLC Architecture received resounding kudos from city officials and local residents on Jan. 9, after promptly responding to and fixing issues raised by neighbors concerning the 4,000-square-foot home to be built on a Granados Avenue lot that’s been vacant for more than 20 years.

The Solana Beach City Council unanimously approved the project, to be built at the corner of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Granados Ave., in a hearing that had been continued from last month.

“To say they responded with urgency would be an understatement,” said Scott Hermes, the property owner adjacent to the proposed development, who had previously asked for more screening, vegetation and sound mitigation. “The team was open and willing to preserve the view.”

Hermes described the lot as a “weed-strewn eyesore on a hugely visible piece of land for a long time,” and he welcomed the soon-to-be residents, Erika Haines and Juan Pablo Valdez. The property has been a point of contention over the years because of its high visibility from Lomas Santa Fe Drive, and residents have successfully fought undesirable design proposals and efforts to change the zoning of the lot to commercial use. According to Tracey Walker, executive administrator of Streamline Development, Haines and Valdez also own the adjacent residential lot and they hope to one day build a home there as well.

City Councilmembers thanked the architects and property owners, Erika Haines and Juan Pablo Valdez, for being patient in returning to the drawing board to change the elevation and material of one 38-foot-long-wall of the home, which officials said was too flat.

On the south end of the property, which faces Hermes, designers incorporated 15 feet of groundcover rose and plan to plant bamboo on the remainder of the property line. To add articulation to the wall in question, planners recessed one wall by about 9 inches, proposed stone siding on a chimney and added a balcony with a sliding door. Officials said the team met with neighbors and city staff several times during the busy holidays to revise plans and gain consensus.