The owners of a scenic hotel in Ocean Beach are locked in a legal fight over deck repairs that were made following an El Nino storm.
Neighbors and environmentalists claim the work was illegal.
The Inn at Sunset Cliffs was built in the 1950s, and has been a popular venue for weddings on its deck over the hotel's seawall.
In mid-December, the deck was swamped with storm waves that created sinkholes and caused erosion on the bluffs.
"If that emergency work had not been done, the inn would have been in dire straits, in jeopardy of collapsing,” says attorney Paul Robinson, who represents the hotel’s owners. “ So our expert engineers agreed there was an emergency. the city's engineers agreed there was an emergency. An emergency permit was issued, and the work has been done."
But neighbors and the Coastal Environmental Rights Group filed objections with the city, arguing that the repairs went far beyond the scope of the emergency permit.
City code compliance inspectors cited "work that was conducted without authorization" and "not considered necessary" -- including a partial retaining wall and firepit seating area.
A "Stop Work" order was issued on January 21st.
And while construction later was permitted to resume, allowing weddings to be held on the deck again, the neighbors' lawyer says the deck actually has been in violation of coastal deed restrictions since 2008.
"And then the piecemeal work they've done to try to ratify it or authorize it ,” Craig Sherman told NBC 7, “it's just clearly been done out of compliance with the coastal act, city local plan and the ordinances that would allow it."
The dispute will be heard by the City Council Tuesday afternoon.
Meantime, Coastal Commission officials have notified the inn that a review of the case is under consideration.