Del Mar City Council to hear appeal of proposed two-story home

By Kristina Houck

After hearing concerns from multiple neighbors, the Del Mar City Council on July 21 unanimously decided to consider an appeal of a two-story, single-family home proposed on Ocean View Avenue.

The Design Review Board conditionally approved design review, land conservation and coastal development permits for the project at its May 28 meeting.

Joseph Dietz, who lives across the street from the proposed development, appealed the Design Review Board’s decision, arguing that the project blocked coastal views and detracted from the natural beauty of the coastal area.

“The Review Board, I feel, has missed the basic requirement of trying to preserve what scenic views we have available to not only ourselves, but the general public,” said Dietz, who has lived in the community for 64 years.

Kerry and Michelle Marsh have asked to demolish a two-story home with a detached carport in order to construct a new, two-story, single-family residence with a basement, pool and spa at 340 Ocean View Ave. The requested permits would allow the applicant to perform associated gut and fill grading, landscaping and structural site improvements, including the removal of six of the 11 Torrey Pine trees from the 14,350-square-foot lot.

The project was brought before the Design Review Board three times — in December, February and March — before the board conditionally approved the permits in May.

At that time, the applicant presented revised plans that included lowering the levels of the house as well as the pitch of the roofs. Doing so reduced the proposed structure to a height that is approximately 3 feet taller than the existing structure in the location of the new garage and 26.5 inches taller in the location of the proposed entry.

Brian Church, owner of Del Mar-based Brian Church Architecture, said the plans — which had been revised three times — actually opened up new views.

Still, a number of neighbors submitted letters in support of the appeal. Several neighbors spoke in person to urge the council to hear the matter.

“It’s totally unnecessary to take public view away,” said resident Linda Deftos. “And the Torrey pine trees are what enhance the view. … The views through the branches of Torrey pine trees are what make it special in that area.”

“Public views are impacted by the design; it’s irrefutable,” said neighbor Clive Freeman. “There are reasonable alternatives for design. The site is quite large. You can actually plan a decent building on that site without contributing to public views. Therefore, in this instance, I think review by the council is significantly warranted.”

Only two council members had to agree to set an appeal hearing, but all four present council members voted to hear the matter. Deputy Mayor Al Corti recused himself from the issue because Brian Church Architecture is working on his property.

City Manager Scott Huth said the public hearing should take place in September.

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