Mayor Bob Filner Takes on Jack in the Box

The mayor is slamming a remodeling project involving a fast food restaurant in North Park

There’s a burger battle brewing with Mayor Bob Filner taking on Jack in the Box on behalf of the North Park community.

The mayor says the remodeling of a Jack in the Box restaurant at the corner of Upas Street and 30th Street could be potentially illegal because the developer has violated the conditions of their permit by destroying nearly all of the existing restaurant.

Filner believes the North Park community was “misled” by the remodeling project which, in his words, “is essentially an entirely new restaurant in North Park.”

Some say the project is an eyesore. Filner is championing opponents’ cause, but his goal is change beyond the borders of the Uptown neighborhood.

The mayor wants to use this case to change development codes that allow a company like Jack in the Box – or a private homeowner for that matter – to obtain a remodel permit and effectively create a whole new structure.

“We should respect that community plan and the ordinances should reflect what we want to do,” Filner said in a written statement Friday.

While Jack in the Box has been a fixture in North Park since 1961, some say the fast food spot has simply worn out its welcome.

“It doesn't fit in with the neighborhood,” resident Kristi Benedetto said. “I see a lot of cars that pile up into the drive thru. I have to move my stroller around to sometimes maneuver around these cars.”

The current community plan prohibits drive-thru service in a new business, so some residents are wondering why it’s permitted in a “like-new” remodel.

Initially, this Jack in the Box location was denied a permit for a new building.

“They essentially built a new restaurant under the guise of a remodel,” Filner said in a statement Friday.

The mayor says the burger giant was deceiving when it made this promise.

In a letter to the planning committee, Jack in the Box construction manager Mike Hogenboom said workers would not be demolishing any of the exterior walls.

NBC 7 reached out to the construction company about the alleged deviation from the plan.

Over the phone, spokesman Brian Luscomb told NBC 7:

"Probably a poor choice of words. It was not our intent to mislead anyone. We are remodeling the restaurant in accordance with the city permit."

And, while the Jack in the Box in North Park may get its new building, Filner is determined that the next big remodel be city building codes.

The mayor has asked the City Attorney to review the permit for the restaurant and approve the issuance of a “Stop Work Order” to halt any further construction at the site.

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