Ken Leighton 11:30 a.m., Aug. 27
Lawsuit filed against City of San Diego for allowing fast-food chain Jack in the Box to remodel North Park restaurant
Lawsuit comes after years of objections from local residents.
Jack may soon be in the witness box.
Today, August 12, a group of North Park residents filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego for allowing the fast-food chain to demolish and build a new restaurant. The residents are demanding that construction stop until the company can come into compliance with the City's municipal code.
Residents living near the intersection of Upas and 30th Street have had their fair share of issues with the restaurant. Late night deliveries, noisy patrons in the drive-through, and litter have caused a rift in the neighborhood dating back for over a decade. That rift grew when neighbors learned of the chain's proposal to tear down the aging restaurant, built in 1961, and build a larger, newer store.
Noise and litter aren't the only objections from neighbors. Also at issue is the fact that current zoning laws prohibit drive-through restaurants from operating in that location. The restaurant, however, was built before the zoning designation changed in 2000. For that reason, the restaurant was allowed to stay but with limitations. The chain's decision to demolish exterior walls and build anew essentially wipes out the clause allowing the chain to operate at that location.
For years residents were told that the restaurant wouldn't expand. In an email included in the lawsuit, Jack In the Box construction manager Mike Hogenboom assured that no outside demolition would take place.
"In a letter dated May 31, 2013, from JIB construction manager Mike Hogenboom to North Park Planning Committee chair Vicki Granowitz, Mr. Hogenboom stated: 'We are not demolishing any of the exterior walls.'”
Despite their assurances, the chain has continued to move forward on the project. The neighbors have received little help from the City of San Diego.
"The more we look into the processing of this application, the more frustrating it is for us and, I am sure, for you and your neighbors," reads an August 1 letter from Mayor Bob Filner's Chief of Staff, Lee Burdick.
"The Mayor directed the issuance of a stop-‐work order on this project precisely because the City Attorney had opined that the process used to issue the permits was inconsistent with the City’s Land Development Code (“LDC”). However, under the LDC, a stop-‐work order must be approved by the City Attorney’s Office (“CAO”) before it can issue. After the Development Service Department forwarded the Mayor’s request for a stop-‐work order to the CAO for review and approval, the City Attorney advised that Jack-‐in-‐the-‐box was too far along in the construction, the company would likely sue the City if we stopped the development, and they very well might win. Consequently, the stop-‐work order was not issued and, as you noted, the construction has moved on.
Executives at Jack in the Box have even hired lobbying firm Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton to grease any squeaky wheels at City Hall.
Now, with the project already in full swing, a lawsuit appears to be the only option left for nearby residents.
More like this:
- City emails show employees scrambling to justify North Park Jack in the Box permits — Sept. 11, 2013
- Did interim mayor Todd Gloria have the authority to rescind stop-use order for Jack in the Box? — Aug. 31, 2013
- Filner issues a Stop-Use Order against North Park Jack in the Box. Todd Gloria rescinds. — Aug. 30, 2013
- City Attorney and Lawyers from Jack in the Box say Mayor Filner's objections to North Park restaurant rebuild a ploy to divert attention from harassment scandal — Aug. 15, 2013
- Jack in the Box hires lobbying firm for help with rebuild of North Park restaurant — July 20, 2013