Centrepoint Luxury Apartments, a large mixed-use development project located near San Diego State University, continues to be a thorn in the side of the City's Development Services Department as well as the City Attorney's Office.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed over the 332-unit, 913-bedroom, residential and commercial building on El Cajon Boulevard and 63rd Street. In March of this year the developer sued the City of San Diego after then-Mayor Bob Filner ordered a stop to construction over rumors that the building was more dormitory than luxury apartment building.
That suit was settled shortly after. The agreement required the developer to donate $150,000 for improvements at a nearby park in exchange for a guarantee that work could continue without interruption.
Filner's response didn't sit well with the City Attorney's Office.
In a June 3 memo, Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper, wrote that "neither the Mayor nor his designee have the authority under the law to unilaterally halt permitted development projects."
Even the City Attorney couldn't resist bashing Filner for the stop-work order. “No one – not even the Mayor – can ignore the law simply because it’s inconvenient,” Goldsmith said. “In this case, the law requires the concurrence of the City Attorney’s office before work can be stopped on a permitted project. This is just one of the checks and balances in the City Charter.”
Those actions now may come back to bite the City. On October 4 residents of San Diego's Rolando community filed a complaint against the City and the developer, Carmel Partners, alleging the developer failed to obtain proper permits, nor did it give the public a chance to properly review the project. Instead, claims the lawsuit, the developer sidestepped the entire approval process by moving forward with construction without having to appear before the planning commission.
And while this was happening, the City looked the other way.
According to the complaint the "Developer and City negotiated and reached a settlement which provides and requires some conditions and requirements for the Project, but also purports to require the City to continue processing illegal and unlawful permits and approvals, and later issue final permit sign-off for the same."
The group says the City refuses to turn over documents such as cycle reviews as well as any traffic and environmental studies.
Meanwhile, the City is getting it from both directions. Just last month, Centrepoint filed suit against the City and San Diego Unified School District for overcharging development fees meant to go to nearby schools. The company alleges that the City owes them more than $390,000.
The City responded to the lawsuit by saying it "lacks sufficient information or belief to admit or deny the allegations."