Hat tip to jp for sending this along, from the U-T:
GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers this weekend in San Diego, is also working on plans to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront manse in La Jolla.
Romney has filed an application with the city to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, single-story home at 311 Dunemere Dr. and replace it with a two-story, 11,062-square-foot structure. No date has been set to consider the proposed coastal development and site development permits, which must be approved by the city.
The former governor of Massachusetts purchased the home three years ago. According to a description from the listing agent, the Spanish-style residence at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac is sophisticated and understated in its décor, “offering complete privacy and unsurpassed elegance.”
Tentative plans call for new retaining walls and a relocated driveway, but would retain the existing lap pool and spa.
“This offering represents a truly unique opportunity for a buyer who appreciates the scarcity of this caliber of real estate,” the listing said.
Constructed in 1936, the three-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home was among the first built in the Barber tract neighborhood, according to the La Jolla Historical Society, and has a stretch of lawn sloping to the white sand beach.
“I wanted to be where I could hear the waves,” Romney told a gaggle of media last year at a book signing in University City. “As a boy we spent summers on Lake Huron and I could hear the crashing waves at night. It was one of my favorite things in the world; being near the water and the waves was something I very badly wanted to experience again.”
The home was once owned by former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor and her late husband, Bob Peterson, founder of Jack-in-the-Box. The landmark Philip Barber house to the south was once owned by actor Cliff Robertson.
“It’s a very special little area of La Jolla,” said Carol Olten, a local historian. “It’s obviously very close to the ocean. It has unique architecture and the people who live there just love it all the time — even though it gets crowded.”
Fundraising events and the prospect of becoming another “Western White House” only add to the lore of the tony tract. Despite some initial concerns about the home’s historic significance, a report prepared for the project concluded that the house is not significant under any designation criteria due to a “lack of integrity.” Several alterations, the most significant being in 1986, were made over the years.
“Historic staff agreed with that conclusion,” a city planner said. “Therefore, it was not required to go to the Historic Resources Board.” The California Coastal Commission and La Jolla Community Planning Group and have recommended approval.
“It’s actually been a very quiet project,” said Joe LaCava, the group’s former chairman. “No neighbors, at least that we know of, have raised any concerns.”
Jess Durfee, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, offered chiding comment on Romney’s project and residency.
“Let’s hope he hires a contractor that provides union-equivalent wages and helps to stimulate the local economy,” Durfee said. “He also could register to vote here and help out the Republicans, whose numbers are dwindling.”
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said he would not comment on the planned home renovation. He also wouldn’t confirm the candidate’s calendar.
Mitt and Anne Romney, who have become regulars at political events across Southern California, were scheduled to attend a Saturday brunch organized by longtime finance director Karolyn Dorsee. All of the upcoming events, including a dinner planned for Monday, are closed to the media, Williams said.