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8:30 a.m., June 17
Executives from San Diego-based Jack in the Box are calling in the big guns to continue with renovation, rather reconstruction, of their North park restaurant.
The company has hired attorneys from Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton to grease the wheels at City Hall.
They will need a lot of grease.
The proposal to tear down the existing restaurant, there since 1961, in favor of a larger building with a reconfigured driveway and additional outside seating has been a contentious issue for residents who live nearby the intersection of Upas and 30th Street.
The most pressing issue for neighbors is the fact that current zoning does not even allow for drive-thru restaurants to operate in that location. The restaurant, however, was grandfathered in since it was in operation before the zoning designation changed back in 2000. That, however, would no longer apply if the restaurant is closed for an extended period and the building is torn down and rebuilt, which is the case.
In February 2012, the Reader published an in-depth article on the neighbors concerns. At that time, executives from Jack in the Box and residents appeared to be deadlocked.
Now, more than a year and a half later the fast-food chain's decision to demolish the old building to build anew has caused Mayor Filner to step in. In the past, Filner has not let any small issue, like permits, get in the way of stopping a project in its tracks.
As reported by the Voice of San Diego, Filner is now awaiting an opinion from the City Attorney's Office on ways to stop the already approved project while at the same time avoiding any potential litigation.
According to the disclosure from Sheppard Mullin, the firm was hired to seek "implementation of land use entitlements and permits."
Top image by Alan Decker