By GABRIELLA BOCK |Reporter
In the past, Las Pulgas canyon winemaker Cosimo Pizzulli has grown some fine vines in the Palisades, producing great harvests of Sangiovese grapes.
But his next venture may put them in the shade.
After living in his ranch-style Marquette Street home for nearly two decades, Pizzulli, who is also a well-known architect, plans to split his acre parcel back into its orginial eight subdivided lots.
They will be laid out in parallel ‘stripes” along Marquette’s canyon rim where grapes will still continue to be grown.
He will keep one stripe for himself and sell the remaining seven to buyers looking to build one of his single-family home designs.
“I have lived on this street for 18 years,” Pizzulli told the Palisadian-Post. “We moved in when my daughter was 5 and we’re not planning on leaving.
“But now that our children are grown, we’d like to share this land and make our street better for everyone who lives here.”
Pizzulli, who will tear down his current house to make room for the incoming division, told the Post that the new homes were designed to feel like a “Norman Rockwell painting of the quintessential American home, with a front porch, rear yards, decks and a view of the American landscape.”
Each proposed home would be built 20 feet away from his property line––giving an extra four feet to the city’s requirement of 16 feet––and would range from 2,923 square feet for the smallest home to 5,330 square feet for the largest.
That is half the size of some of the town’s new arrivals.
“These houses aren’t going to be like some of those big boxes you see being constructed in the bluffs,” he explained.
“These will be nice, starter-family homes for people who want to raise their kids in a warm, inviting neighborhood”
It has been a long time since the Palisades had offered so many starter homes, but the demand is there.
Nor have such proposals proven to be controversy-free.
At least one neighbor is upset, fearing that the land is geologically unstable. The resident argues that further development would compromise the safety of the street’s existing homes.
But after a geologist studied the land extensively through 70-foot deep borings, the city determined that the property was not in landslide jeopardy. It issued Pizzulli a letter of development approval.
Mary O’Neal, who has lived in her home at Marquette’s dead-end for 53 years, told the Pthat her side of Marquette and Bienveneda have always been separate. She challenged a story that they had been joined until houses tumbled down the hillside.
“A house on this street has never fallen into the canyon. That is a complete myth,” O’Neal said. “I’ve seen pictures of his plan and what [Pizzulli] has proposed would only bring progress to this area. And I’m all for progress.”
Then there is the sewage question.
The eastern end of N. Marquette, where Pizzulli, O’Neal and a scattering of other homeowners reside, lies unconnected from the rest of the street’s branch sewer line.
Each home is currently equipped with their own septic tank and seepage pit, a problem that Pizzulli said reduces the community’s quality of life.
“When a home’s septic tank overflows, which happens more often than you’d think, raw sewage runs down the length of the driveway and pools in the road,” he said. “It’s an extremely concerning health hazard for all of us, especially our children and pets.”
With his development, Pizzulli plans to have the city sewer line extended with electrical panels and a backup generator installed. Neighbors will be connected, free of charge.
Other changes include widening and paving the dilapidated road and constructing new curbs and gutters.
During a June 26th meeting, the Civic League gave it’s blessings to the development after Pizzulli presented a site plan that fully met the league’s long list of CC&R requirements.
“We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Pizzulli noted. “I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize my home. I just want to make it better––for all of us.”
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