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Jacked by the Box

Residents appeal decision to allow overhaul of North Park fast-food joint

The old Jack in the Box at 2959 Upas Street
The old Jack in the Box at 2959 Upas Street

North Park residents are appealing a decision from Superior Court judge Robert Prager to dismiss the lawsuit they filed over the massive overhaul of a Jack in the Box restaurant in North Park.

The basis of the lawsuit was that city allowed the burger chain to ignore zoning laws prohibiting new drive-thru restaurants from opening and operating at the location.

The restaurant, open since the 1960s, had been grandfathered in and was allowed to keep the drive-thru despite subsequent zoning changes that prohibited them from the area, as reported by the Reader in February 2012.

Problems began, however, when residents learned that the chain was planning a complete remodel. After months of complaints as well as a rejection from San Diego's Planning Commission, Jack in the Box executives agreed not to change the footprint or remove any exterior walls in order to keep them from abiding by current zoning laws. In May 2013, a construction manager for Jack in the Box sent an email to North Park planning group chair Vicki Granowitz, promising that the company is not "demolishing any exterior walls."

A permit was issued. Months later, nearly all of the restaurant's exterior walls had disappeared. Residents went to the city to complain. Former mayor Bob Filner issued a stop-work order that was later rejected by city attorney Jan Goldsmith. Construction continued. Residents filed a lawsuit 12 days after the deadline to file a complaint. Residents and their attorney argued that the Jack in the Box executives misled them about the size and scope of the rebuild. They did so while the clock was ticking on filing a formal complaint with the city. Meanwhile, the city allowed major changes to the permit on a discretionary basis, meaning no public notification. On January 23, judge Ronald Prager dismissed the lawsuit without considering the evidence solely due to the timing of the complaint.

Now, residents have decided to appeal. They turned to online fundraising site gofundme.com to raise the funds needed for the appeal.

"For a while, we were pretty much ready to give in. Appealing the decision would take time and money that my neighbors and I just didn't have," resident and spokesperson for Care About North Park Rick Pyles said during an April 1 telephone interview.

"But we discussed it and talked to our attorney Cory Briggs and we said that somebody has got to stand up to these people."

The group met their April 1 deadline to raise $2040 for filing costs. Now they hope to raise $8000 more for the remainder of the legal leg work. Briggs has agreed to work on a contingency basis.

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The old Jack in the Box at 2959 Upas Street
The old Jack in the Box at 2959 Upas Street

North Park residents are appealing a decision from Superior Court judge Robert Prager to dismiss the lawsuit they filed over the massive overhaul of a Jack in the Box restaurant in North Park.

The basis of the lawsuit was that city allowed the burger chain to ignore zoning laws prohibiting new drive-thru restaurants from opening and operating at the location.

The restaurant, open since the 1960s, had been grandfathered in and was allowed to keep the drive-thru despite subsequent zoning changes that prohibited them from the area, as reported by the Reader in February 2012.

Problems began, however, when residents learned that the chain was planning a complete remodel. After months of complaints as well as a rejection from San Diego's Planning Commission, Jack in the Box executives agreed not to change the footprint or remove any exterior walls in order to keep them from abiding by current zoning laws. In May 2013, a construction manager for Jack in the Box sent an email to North Park planning group chair Vicki Granowitz, promising that the company is not "demolishing any exterior walls."

A permit was issued. Months later, nearly all of the restaurant's exterior walls had disappeared. Residents went to the city to complain. Former mayor Bob Filner issued a stop-work order that was later rejected by city attorney Jan Goldsmith. Construction continued. Residents filed a lawsuit 12 days after the deadline to file a complaint. Residents and their attorney argued that the Jack in the Box executives misled them about the size and scope of the rebuild. They did so while the clock was ticking on filing a formal complaint with the city. Meanwhile, the city allowed major changes to the permit on a discretionary basis, meaning no public notification. On January 23, judge Ronald Prager dismissed the lawsuit without considering the evidence solely due to the timing of the complaint.

Now, residents have decided to appeal. They turned to online fundraising site gofundme.com to raise the funds needed for the appeal.

"For a while, we were pretty much ready to give in. Appealing the decision would take time and money that my neighbors and I just didn't have," resident and spokesperson for Care About North Park Rick Pyles said during an April 1 telephone interview.

"But we discussed it and talked to our attorney Cory Briggs and we said that somebody has got to stand up to these people."

The group met their April 1 deadline to raise $2040 for filing costs. Now they hope to raise $8000 more for the remainder of the legal leg work. Briggs has agreed to work on a contingency basis.

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Comments
3

With all the loud, unruly drunks pouring out of Bluefoot, you'd think that Jack's would be the least of the neighbors' worries.

April 2, 2015

I thought they'd be mad as a hornet that Oklahoma-based SONIC took over the site of a popular gourmet restaurant, Barfer (I mean, Burger) King on El Cajon Blvd. "The horror."

April 2, 2015

It is obvious that on its face the fix was in. The fact is that Jack had all the players all paid up and they did what they wanted. Of course Mr. Hairpiece was in on it. No surprises here just a lot of hide-and-seek technicalities.

April 2, 2015

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