Jeff Smith noon, March 8
City sued for halting construction on mixed-use project near SDSU
Mayor and Councilmember ordered halt after hearing complaints that project was more dormitory than residential development
As of now, the 332-unit, 10,000 square foot commercial space, mixed use development known as Centerpoint Luxury Apartment sits dormant at the intersection of 63rd and El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University.
Progress has been halted by Mayor Bob Filner after the Mayor received complaints from Councilmember Marti Emerald and her constituents that Centerpoint was more dormitory than a mixed-use development project.
The problem with calling off the crews is that Carmel Partners, the developer, has already received all of the necessary permits and has laid the foundations and footings for the four buildings and on-site parking garage.
Filner now wants the developer to make the necessary changes to the project to ensure nearby residents that the 332-unit building won't turn into a bustling college dorm. In addition to the changes, Filner is asking that the developer obtain city council approval for their project.
In response, Carmel Partners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Ninth District Court on May 7 ordering the Mayor to stop condo-blocking the project.
"The City, through the Chief Building Official, now refuses to conduct inspections of the construction site, claiming that the existing permits issued by the City are not valid, thereby effectively preventing Centerpoint from continuing with the project," reads a portion of the May 7 lawsuit.
Emails and other missives from city officials cited in the lawsuit show mixed messages on the mixed-use development.
￼Included in the lawsuit is a March 13 email from newly-retired Director of Development Services Kelly Broughton to an Ninth-District staffer.
"...the Carmel Luxury Apartments projects [sic] complied with all regulations of the...zones and that no discretionary permit was required. A student dormitory requires approval of a Conditional Use Permit, however, this project is not considered a student dormitory. In conclusion, staff had no legal authority to deny the permit for this project."
Councilmember Marti Emerald didn't care for that determination and on the following day issued a memo to Mayor Filner's Office. In it, she continued to push for the mayor to apply the brakes.
"It now appears that this project may really be a sprawling dormitory for upwards of 1100 students who attend San Diego State University. This is the last thing residents of Rolando want encroaching on their quiet neighborhood...I want an immediate halt to this project construction project until we receive an acceptable answer..."
Five days later, the Mayor granted Emerald's request.
In a May 17 news report from 10News, Filner was quoted as saying that the City "made a mistake" in issuing Carmel Partners the permits.
Now, the developer is accusing the City of San Diego of violating their "federal and state constitutional rights to procedural due process and equal protection and is demanding that the City remove the hold and pay for any damages as well as attorney's fees.
On Tuesday, city councilmembers will discuss the case with the City Attorney during a closed session meeting.
Click here to download the lawsuit:
More like this:
- Rolando residents fight dorm-style project — Feb. 19, 2014
- City sides with developers, residents, developers again — Oct. 30, 2013
- Group of Rolando residents file suit over controversial mixed-use project Centrepoint — Oct. 10, 2013
- Construction allowed to begin...again on Centerpoint development near SDSU — May 24, 2013
- Large-scale developers of River Bend and One Paseo unite to win favor at City Hall — Jan. 27, 2013