San Diego

City Changes Tune on North Park Music Venue Violations

City and venue say an agreement is in place which would allow the venue to continue to operate

San Diego’s City Attorney’s Office is walking back from a recently filed abatement lawsuit and subsequent press release the office filed against the Observatory, a popular music venue and nightclub in North Park. 

On July 3, the city filed a nuisance and abatement lawsuit, claiming the venue was violating its permit and posed a risk to patrons as well as the greater public near the University Avenue and 29th Street location.  

“For too long, Observatory North Park has been a neighborhood nuisance, a fire trap, and a health threat to its customers and the community in which it operates,” read a July 11 statement from City Attorney Mara Elliott. “If its managers don’t start following the law, the party’s over. We will shut them down permanently.” 

The statement was released after NBC 7 broke the story.  

Hours later representatives from the Observatory contacted the station stating the venue and the city had reached an agreement and the theater would continue to operate. 

“The North Park Observatory was surprised and disappointed to see news stories posted yesterday, stating that the City of San Diego was taking legal action against the theater. Since 2017, the Observatory has been working with the City to address its various concerns. A few weeks ago, the City and the Observatory entered into an agreement that was lodged with the court, with the City's complaint. The agreement cannot be publicly released until the judge signs it, but it acknowledges the cooperation between the parties,” said attorney Michael Tidus, who represents the Observatory. 

In a follow-up email, a spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office confirmed both sides had been working to resolve the issues, long before the office had filed the nuisance complaint. 

“Our Office has been working for more than a year with Observatory North Park to resolve the criminal conduct and nuisance violations outlined in the complaint filed on July 3. We are hopeful that within a week we can announce a settlement agreement that will detail the neighborhood use, building, and electrical permits that must be obtained, and additional terms and conditions under which Observatory North Park will operate legally. If settlement terms are approved by a judge we will notify the media.” 

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