Mike Madriaga 9 a.m., Jan. 23
Filner issues a Stop-Use Order against North Park Jack in the Box. Todd Gloria rescinds.
Order prohibits use of drive-through.
In his final hours as Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner had some parting gifts of his own to give away. One was for residents of North Park living near the Jack in the Box on Upas and 30 Street.
On August 29, Filner signed a Stop-Use order, aimed at discontinuing the use of the drive-thru.
"I now issue this Stop Use Order and hereby order you to immediately discontinue the following use(s) currently taking place and/or about to take place in connection with, at, on, and/or in any portion of the Structure identified above: the drive-through portion of the Jack in the Box restaurant, regardless of the time of the day. The San Diego Municipal Code prohibited such use(s) after commencement. Based on the extent of the demolition, construction, removal, and/or relocation of one or more of the Structure's exterior walls in connection with the Project(s)/Permit(s) identified above, any and all previously conforming rights to engage in such use(s) have been lost."
The decision by the fast-food chain to tear down the exterior walls and build anew, drew objections from local residents living nearby. For years, through the appropriate channels, residents fought a proposal from Jack in the Box to tear down the aging 1961 restaurant and build a new, larger facility. The problem: zoning laws had changed since the restaurant was built. New zoning laws prohibited drive-throughs at that location. Jack in the Box, however, was allowed to continue using the drive-through as long as they kept the exterior of the building as it.
Residents were somewhat victorious, at least for a small amount of time. The local planning group stood by them. The City Planning Commission also rejected the proposal.
Then executives at Jack in the Box decided to take another approach. They submitted applications for renovation permits, promising not to tear down any of the exterior walls. Next thing neighbors knew, the walls were gone and Jack in the Box was moving ahead with their project.
Filner wanted to act, however, allegations of sexual harassment had already hit. That left it all on the neighbors. They hired a lawyer and filed suit against the chain. Lawyers for Jack in the Box and from the City Attorney's Office accused Filner and his staff of fabricating documents, critical of the rebuild.
Now, it seems as if Filner got the final say, at least for now.
"This Stop Use Order shall remain in effect until the San Diego Municipal Code no longer prohibits the use(s) described above. The authority to withdraw this Stop Use Order may not be exercised by any public official other than the duly elected Mayor of San Diego.
"This Stop Use Order shall be construed as broadly as possible, consistent with your legal rights, to protect the public from the illegal use(s) described above. The City of San Diego shall enforce this Stop Use Order to the fullest extent of the law. Any member of the public may also enforce this Stop Use Order in court to the extent the City of San Diego fails to enforce it. If any term or provision of this Stop Use Order is held to be unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this Stop Use Order shall remain in full force and effect."
It looked like it would be good news for residents whose own representative, Todd Gloria was taking over as Mayor. For a time being, Gloria appeared to support the residents. On August 2, he sent a memo to then mayor Bob Filner about the end-around.
"This project is not only inconsistent with the Greater North Park Community Plan, but also fails to take advantage with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement good planning principles at a prime location."
Gloria concluded his memo urging Filner to tighten procedures in order to "ensure that our neighborhoods and businesses have clear intent of land use designations."
That good news turned bad. Two minutes after becoming interim-mayor, Gloria rescinded Filner's order. Here's his statement:
Hours before his resignation became official, Mayor Bob Filner issued a Stop Use Order to Jack in the Box for its construction project in North Park. The order was rescinded by Interim Mayor Gloria.
“Bob Filner’s last act was symbolic of his entire tenure as Mayor: it was contradictory and exposed the City of San Diego to liability,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. “While Filner was Mayor, his staff approved the permit for the renovations on Jack in the Box in North Park. Before leaving office for the final time today, Filner issued a Stop Use Order to Jack in the Box for the same project that he had approved.”