Minutes after taking office, interim Mayor Todd Gloria quickly reversed one of Filner’s last actions as mayor of San Diego.
As mayor, Filner always said neighborhoods are important. On Friday, just hours before his term officially ended, Filner tried to stop construction of a fast food drive-thru, issuing a “Stop Use Order” for a construction project at a Jack in the Box restaurant in North Park.
The order was then rescinded by Gloria, who said that the move was reckless, and an abuse of government power.
Gloria released the following statement regarding Filner’s final act:
“Bob Filner’s last act was symbolic of his entire tenure as Mayor: it was contradictory and exposed the City of San Diego to liability. While Filner was Mayor, his staff approved the permit for the renovations on Jack in the Box in North Park. Before leaving office for the final time today, Filner issued a Stop Use Order to Jack in the Box for the same project that he had approved. I agree the Land Development Code must be changed so that the scenario experienced in North Park cannot be repeated. Unfortunately, Mayor Filner didn’t see it fit to change the rules while he was in office, but I’ll clean that mess up, too.”
The Jack in the Box in question is located at 30th and Upas Streets. It’s a target of criticism among residents in the area who say Jack in the Box remodeled the building without the proper approvals, and used a technicality to allow the construction of a drive-thru lane on the property.
Some neighbors argue that the drive-thru causes late-night noise and litter. Several months ago, they took their concerns to Filner, who promised to help.
And, just before his term was up on Friday, Filner issued an order to halt the project.
Gloria, however, reversed the order, arguing that Filner’s action exposed the city to an expensive potential lawsuit.
According to Gloria, Jack in the Box re-submitted their project through the City’s Development Services Department as a “remodel” under section 12.7.1 of the Land Development Code, despite the fact that the project was more a rebuild. This allowed the project to be permitted without review or approval by the City Council.
Gloria says the city code should be changed to close loopholes that allowed the construction of the drive-thru and prevent a project like this from happening again.
“As I take on the role of Interim Mayor, I assure North Park neighbors and all San Diegans that my City Council colleagues will address this loophole. Until then, I expect everyone to play by the rules as they are written today,” Gloria added in a prepared statement released Friday evening.