• News Ticker alerts

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.

  • News Ticker alerts


Yankeedoodle Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:49 p.m.

Perhaps a recall for Jan Goldsmith is in order, and a retention in office for Mayor Filner, for an operation like this requires adult supervision.


Diogenes Aug. 12, 2013 @ 7:29 p.m.

Dorian, again we witness the City Attorney rolling over for big dough. There are two levels of justice in this town: one for those who got and one for the rest of us serfs.

Time to blow this popsicle stand and find a place where money does talk so loudly.


Yankeedoodle Aug. 12, 2013 @ 8:30 p.m.

Diogenes! You made a Freudian slip...omitted the 'not' because you really do not wish to abandon the rest of us here. No place is perfect, but some are worth working to improve.


Founder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 1:45 p.m.

Here is more about how Jack does not take NO for an answer from almost a year ago: Planning Commission Denies Jack in the Box’s North Park Project

Read more: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...">http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

North Park is tired of being dumped on by DSD and all the City Leaders that allow it to happen!

Mayor Filner is the only one that has stood up to special (BIG MONEY) interests and that is why the UT and the other MSM are trying to get him to resign...

Big Development is taking over $an Diego and anyone that thinks differently. is either not paying attention, part of the problem or is politically naive.


Yankeedoodle Aug. 14, 2013 @ 2:28 p.m.

They were working very hard and fast on that building this morning!


rosijoni Aug. 14, 2013 @ 5:33 p.m.

Just my opinion...but if these neighbors don't want to live near the Jack in the Box, let 'em move. Didn't they all buy their homes with the full knowledge the restaurant was already there? Why don't they complain about the HUGE condominium complex going up across the street? Or the bar that's already there? Oh, yeah....what's it called? NIMBY!


Yankeedoodle Aug. 14, 2013 @ 6:17 p.m.

Rosijoni: There was great deal of discussion about that complex, but the building before it wasn't beloved, either. I think that the original plan required its own parking or the neighbors and businesses would be up in arms, because parking is very tight in the surrounding blocks. I can't tell yet whether that parking is part of the complex, and I don't know much about those meetings.

Some of the neighbors there may have preceded the Jack In the Box, which means that the rule of don't move next to a nuisance and then complain does not hold for them. Further, there was an agreement that this drive-in, which violates the local ordinances, could be grandfathered in, but from what I have read, Jack thumbed its nose at the City and just rebuilt the entire place, thereby knowingly invalidating the clause allowing them to stay. Although I live nearby, I am not a rules & reg wonk, so probably somebody else can explain it better. But I don't think it is a NIMBY thing, which phrase means the persons want something, like an airport, but not near them. I doubt the neighbors would be dashing out of North Park to go to another Jack.


Yankeedoodle Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:38 p.m.

Rosij: Okay, the people around there say there will be some businesses and 27 condos, with only one parking place per condo. Sounds like parking will be even tighter than now. The City Council doesn't have to take the recommendations of the neighborhood planning committees, and may have handed out a waiver on the parking, even though the local committee advised against it. I don't know the detes, but that has happened before. As you pointed out, the nimby principle applies...if the council members don't have trouble parking in their neighborhood, what do they care about ours? Overall, I think folks are waiting to see how it all works out.


rosijoni Aug. 15, 2013 @ 9:13 a.m.

Yankeedoodle: I was 11 years old in 1961, the year this restaurant was built. Now, I suppose there may be a FEW people who bought a house in that immediate neighborhood before 1961, maybe a young couple in their early 20's, who are still living there? But to say that is a mandate of the families who are most up in arms over this - I've read the articles, seen the pictures, and I'd bet these families are probably 10-20 years younger than I am right now. That argument, sorry to say, just does not fly. I'd have to see a lot of proof that these are old folks who are out on the corner, protesting, or these are old folks who have hired a law firm to represent their interests. Honestly, I can't even feel sorry for people who knowingly bought homes in the immediate vicinity of a fast-food restaurant, a bar, and a disintegrating building (which was the case where the condo complex is now being built). What, were they hoping JIB would quietly go away, and that parcel of land would become a green park for their children to play in? C'mon...let's get real. And seriously, where's the uproar about the Bluefoot Bar across the street? I'd be more upset about that, drunks in my yard, urinating and vomiting at 2:00 AM, than I would be about someone ordering tacos at 10:00 PM.


northparkrick Aug. 18, 2013 @ 1:40 a.m.

I am always amazed at how those who don't have a clue about the full situation are so quick to post their completely uneducated opinion. It would be a waste of time, rosijoni, to go into the detail it would take to cover your comments and questions, and mostly because you have it all figured out in your own mind anyway. Any facts given to you would be ignored or lumped into your pre-conceived categories of people and issues of which you have already drawn your own conclusions, and clearly have no comprehension or understanding. Just a few facts that you might want to look into for the truth: 1. Bluefoot Bar was approved by the City in violation of the Zoning. People did NOT buy their homes next to a liquor bar (it was a beer/wine bar only), but even after 6 or more years of opposition, and with the Municipal Code and zoning on the neighbor's side, the City will not rescind this use. 2. Jonathan Segal, the architect/developer of the North Parker lofts is following the rules. The neighbor's may not like them all, but we're not fighting this development because J.S. is playing by the book, and not doing anything he is not legally allowed to do. If we can't win cases where we have the law on our side, why would we think we'd have a snowball's chance in hell raising issues with a development that is perfectly legal? 3. Jack in the Box is knowingly and willfully violating the Muni Code, Zoning, and the NP community plan. They were denied what they are doing a year ago by the Planning Commission, and are weaseling their way around the rules and thumbing their nose at the neighborhood and the community by calling what they are doing a "remodel". And the City refuses to force them to comply out of fear of a lawsuit. Yes, many people bought their homes knowing there was a fast food chain there. We were also promised that they would never be able to rebuild a new restaurant on that site and keep the drive thru. And to clear up the biggest misconception of all, this is not about Jack in the Box. They are welcome to stay. They just cannot keep the drive-through according to 'the rules'. The City Atty. has stated that JIB has violated the permit they were given, and that the City issued the wrong permit in the first place (we have that in writing), but because they are so far along in construction, to make them comply with the rules now would likely lead to a lawsuit that Jack could likely win. But our City picks and chooses who has to follow the rules, and in this case, our neighborhood gets dumped on once again, just like with Bluefoot, because it's easier to condone a mistake than to correct it, and business interests are more important than residents or neighborhoods to the power mongers that run this city.

Do me favor, get your facts straight and know what you're talking about before you throw around phrases like NIMBY, OK?


McLovin Aug. 18, 2013 @ 11:09 p.m.

I am actually quite happy with the way things are turning out. As a 15-year resident and homeowner, I find JIB having a drive-thru very convenient. This whole thing is about a game of "gotcha" you knocked down an extra wall. Technically, true, a minor violation, but in the end, the footprint is essentially the same, nothing more, nothing less. The fact is, 30th & Upas is one busy intersection that is about to get even busier, and it has nothing to do with JIB. Aside from being a major eyesore, North Parker is going to a much bigger neighborhood headache than JIB ever was or ever will be.


northparkrick Aug. 22, 2013 @ 11:36 p.m.

This "whole thing" is about big bucks skirting the law. And if you truly think Jack in the Box has nothing to do with how busy the 30th & Upas intersection is, you really should drive by at lunch time or even better, around the 5:00 - 6:30 dinner time. Yes, I said drive, you certainly wouldn't want to experience walking in this pedestrian area...


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader