An Otay Mesa church known for helping foster children is facing a serious dilemma — find a new location or pay the city of San Diego tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Grace Tabernacle Vision Church has been located on 7015 Alamitos Ave. in Otay Mesa for nine years. Many of its worshipers are foster or former foster children.
In January, the church received a notice that a marijuana production company had filed for a conditional-use permit down the street, and according to Pastor Andy Ballon, from then on, the church has faced problems from the city.
“In June, we find out there was a complaint filed against us,” Ballon said. “Specifically stating that we were in a flood zone and that we didn’t have adequate parking for the building.”
According to Ballon, however, the church is not in a flood zone. Ballon cites FEMA documents, dated in 1982 when the building changed owners, that indicate the building is not in a flood zone.
NBC7 reached out to the city of San Diego. The city responded with this statement:
This case was opened after receiving a Request for Investigation. The investigation revealed that the building was being used as a church, which is not a permitted use under the zoning regulations. In addition, unpermitted tenant improvements had been constructed without required permits and inspection approvals. A Civil Penalty Notice and Order (CPNO) was issued on Friday, August 17, 2018.