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Construction of Irvine Cove home approved

December 19, 2003

Andrew Edwards

City Council voted Tuesday to approve stalled plans to build a

residence in Irvine Cove that some neighbors worried would obstruct

their ocean views.

After considering comments from property owner Ron Loder, several

neighbors, attorneys and architects, council members voted 3-1 in

favor of Loder's request to appeal the Design Review Board's Nov. 6

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decision. On that date the board voted unanimously to reject Loder's

building plans.

At the end of the hearing, Loder expressed his satisfaction with

the outcome, though not the series of events that led to the hearing.

"I'm happy, but I'm disappointed it had to come to this," he said.

The appeal was Loder's second attempt to get approval from the

City Council following a rejection from the board. On May 20, the

council upheld the boards unanimous April 3 rejection of Loder's

plan.

Loder and his wife, Yolanda, purchased a one-acre lot on Riviera

Drive in June of 2002. They first presented plans to construct a

13,278-square-foot home with a 1,159-square-foot garage and

5,032-square-foot basement before Design Review in February. Loder

filed his appeal after the board rejected his plans in November.

Neighborhood opponents of Loder's plan expressed concerns his

proposed residence would unfairly obstruct whitewater views they have

enjoyed as the coastal bluff lot owned by Loder remained undeveloped.

Irvine Cove resident Andy Alison told the council he was not

satisfied by design modifications Loder presented to the board as

they did not preserve ocean views as seen from his living room,

though he was willing to accept blocked views from other vantage

points.

"We gave up 50% to 75% of our view," Alison said.

"Everything else we agree with," he added.

The consulting architect on the project, Morris Skenderian, said

planners had worked to accommodate Alison's concerns, but he

acknowledged views from Alison's living room would not be preserved.

Loder and his architects argued they had made reasonable efforts

to preserve view equity, pointing out the proposed residence would

rise an average of 6.67 feet above the curb.

Opponents of the plan hoped to prevent the Loder residence from

rising more than 4-feet, 8-inches over the curb line. Laguna Beach

city regulations allow for homes to rise up to 14 feet above the

curb.

Though Loder's architects did not adjust plans for the residence

between the second and third Design Review hearings, they did make an

adjustment prior to appearing before the City Council. By making what

was called the "3-foot compromise," Loder and his architects agreed

to lower the master bedroom by three feet.

The day after the hearing, Alison said he was disappointed with

the council, with one exception, voted to deny the appeal after

upholding the review board's decision earlier in the year.

"All the council members, except Toni Iseman, buckled under the

pressure," he said.

The decision does not allow the Loders to start construction. The

council required that landscaping plans be submitted to the Design

Review Board for future approval.

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