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It's settled, developer Carmel Partners are permitted to get back to work on a 332-unit building on the corner of 63rd Street and El Cajon Boulevard near SDSU in Rolando. The developer and Mayor Bob Filner were at a standoff after Filner called a halt to the project despite the fact that all necessary permits were issued.

Nearby residents had complained to Councilmember Marti Emerald and the Mayor that the project was not the luxury apartments that Carmel Partners said it would be but was instead a dormitory. The tipping point came with news that the building would allow tenants to rent-by-beds not units. In response, the Mayor called for construction to end. In turn, the developer filed a lawsuit.

In a May 24 press release, Emerald said the two sides have worked it out. The developer can go back to building their project and the Mayor can rest assured that units will be rented, not beds.

“I appreciate the community bringing their concerns to my office and very grateful to Mayor Filner for standing up for our neighborhoods”, stated Councilmember Emerald in a May 24 press release. “I also want to commend Carmel Partners for making valuable concessions in order to settle this dispute and demonstrate their commitment to the quality in our College area neighborhoods."

For background here is an article from May 19:

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:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/documents/2013/may/19/centerpoint-lawsuit-vs-city-san-diego/

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Comments

HonestGovernment May 24, 2013 @ 8:17 p.m.

Great reporting. I love the "condo-blocking." You are one funny fella! Go Filner! Bye-bye Kelly. It's a new day in Mr. Bob's neighborhood.

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nostalgic May 24, 2013 @ 8:44 p.m.

Sounds great, but what did they actually agree to? Glad they are all happy.

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HonestGovernment May 25, 2013 @ 9:40 a.m.

How can Carmel Partners ensure that the 332 units will not have multiple students renting beds from the primary renter? Can the primary renter of the "luxury" apartment be limited to only x number of roommates? Who monitors and enforces this?

I find the huge number of parking spaces (1091) that CP is creating a pretty good sign that more than the normal number of occupants/apartment is anticipated. Most developers try very hard to provide less parking than is required by code (in this case, 348 spaces would be required for 332 units).

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