Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Build now and ask later
Doug Manchester's Grand Del Mar applies for permits nearly ten years late.
'Build it and ask for permission later,' that seems to be the mantra at Doug Manchester's posh resort, The Grand Del Mar.
On October 11 of this year representatives from Manchester Financial Group applied for a development site permit and a conditional use permit to build a horse rink, barn, horseback trails, a temporary parking lot, tee boxes for the golf course, and a helistop.
The only problem: all of those amenities are already offered at the resort, having been built as early as 2003 without permission from the City.
The application for the development permits come after nearly a decade of noted permit violations from the City of San Diego's development services department.
"Representatives of the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department conducted inspections of the above referenced premises on July 31, 2003, August 8, 2003, August 22, 2003 and August 27, 2003, and has determined that the following San Diego Municipal Code sections have been violated," reads a "revised notice of violation, from the City of San Diego to Manchester-owned Summit Resources Inc., dated August 28, 2003.
Following the opening paragraph are 22 violations for illegal grading, excavating projects, and development on environmentally sensitive lands. And that's not all. Other violations included encroachment of steep hillsides, alterations of flood hazard areas, unpermitted dredging on the Grand Del Mar's golf course and construction of new tee-boxes.
"Immediately cease all grading, grubbing, clearing and/or development on this parcel," Deanna Walker, a Land Development Investigator for the City warned Manchester. "This case is being referring to the City Attorney's Office for civil and/or criminal prosecution.
Two years later in February of 2005, Manchester-owned Westshaw Associates, then owner and operator of the Grand Del Mar's golf course, agreed to file all the necessary permits. The company also agreed to revegitate areas of the golf course, and pay $250,000 to the City for the illegal clearing for horseback trails.
End of story: Right? Wrong.
More than six years later, the City slapped the Grand Del Mar with another notice, as we reported back in January 2012.
The violations were nearly identical to the ones identified in the 2003 notice. Again, the City cited the resort for unauthorized grading, construction of equestrian trails and an equestrian center. In the letter, the City gave the Grand Del Mar until October 2011 to file the necessary permits.
Now one year later, it seems as if "Papa Doug" and company are finally acting on the threats from the City, well, sort of.
During that time, Manchester and the Grand Del Mar constructed a landing pad for helicopters just steps from the entrance to the resort, of course, without any permits from the City or Caltrans.
A spokesperson from the Department of Transportation said the agency has not received any complaints on Grand Del Mar's illegal helistop but said that Caltrans will contact "the owner to verify and inform them of State Regulations. If the use continues, Caltrans will send the owner a "cease & desist" letter."
Richard Gibbons, a representative from Manchester Financial Group, did not respond to a request for comment.