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Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

On Sept 26 the Hillstone Restaurant Group applied to the DRB to modify its permit, approved Nov 15, 2017, “to allow a 600-square-foot reduction in floor area, alterations to proposed landscaping, overall building form and footprint, as well as removal of one level of a two-level subterranean parking structure.” There was no objection to their application, which was approved without discussion.

In part this retrenchment responds to concerns about noise and congestion expressed by neighbors, particularly in the alley to the west, but for the most part it seems to be based on recalculation of the bottom line. By eliminating 600 square feet of floor space (4768 down to 4169) and reducing the area of the outdoor patio in the front along Camino Del Mar from 451 to 388, Hillstone reduced the parking requirement (one stall for every 90 sq. ft. of gross floor area) from 78 to 56 stalls. In fact their proposed parking goes from 82 down to 59.

This decrease makes it possible to do without the extra level of underground parking, which means a significant reduction of construction costs. The parking structure now will have two levels, one at alley level and one below ground (30 stalls in all) and the balance on outdoor surface and in the alley.

In the rear the proposed setback expanded from 17 to 31 feet, 3 inches, while a proposed “garden” of 1197 sq. ft. is replaced by an “egress court” of 282 sq. ft. There will still be outdoor seating in the street-front patio, accommodating 6 tables.

Kelly Wallace, Hillstone’s project designer, said they are now busy with drawings and should apply for a building permit in March 2019 and hope to start construction in early June.

Hillstone is a 40-year old family-owned enterprise based in Los Angeles, with 50 restaurants across the country; those in California include Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara, Napa Valley, Corona del Mar and Irvine.


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