Asbestos Issues at City Permitting Building Freeze Contractors, Architects and Business Owners

More fallout after a San Diego city building was evacuate following repeated problems with asbestos. An elected official wants answers and a full investigation.

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The city of San Diego's Development Services Department has been in turmoil since its building at 101 Ash Street was evacuated and closed last Friday.

The impact has spread to the public and those who depend on the decisions made inside the building, which includes contractors and property owners whose plans and permits must be approved by the city.

Architect Phil Cudaback is waiting for city approval on eight projects. He specializes in commercial construction, mainly restaurants.

NBC 7's Dave Summers has more information on the city building evacuated due to asbestos.

Cudaback said he asked the city how long his projects might be delayed because of the relocation of city staff from 101 Ash Street and received "No response, not even an email that says he will look into it and get you a response tomorrow, nothing."

The city's website only says that services will be "suspended until further notice" and restored to full operation as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, City Council President Pro Tem Barabara Bry, who's also running for Mayor, is asking the City Auditor to investigate. She wants to know more about the city's purchase of the building, and how city executives handled the renovation process.

City workers started moving into the building by the hundreds last month, even after reports of asbestos violations. City officials insisted the building was safe, but on Friday they abruptly told all employees to relocate until further notice and closed the building for 30 days.

The closure came after investigators with the County's Air Pollution Control District found asbestos in areas where employees work.

This latest setback is one of many that have plagued this building. The city spent two years and $30 million renovating it -- plus, $18,000 a day to lease the space.

"It's frustrating," said Cudaback. "Now my clients are going, 'Whats going on? Where is my permit? When can we get construction started?' It's costing them time and money."

An updated memo was sent to city employees, which said nine departments were were impacted by the evacuation. The city also said they are asking outside consultants for recommended changes to the building.

Next week, officials will consider expanding their work with a law firm specializing in asbestos related issues.

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