The city approved the 18-unit condo complex in 2006 but directed the developers to fix some traffic and parking issues. The planning group, however, maintains that more than half of the 48 parking spaces are between 6 inches and a foot too narrow, which is out of compliance with the city land use and development code. City code calls for 9-foot-wide spaces.
The group sent a letter to the city last year to protest the city’s approval. But as an advisory board, the PBPG may have to simply live with the city council’s decision since its concerns were overridden by a city engineer, said planning group member Chris Olsen.
“[The developer] doesn’t have to stop building anything,” Olsen said. “It was the city that screwed up, not the developer.”
A city engineer approved modifications to the parking requirements, according to a letter from the city’s Development Services Department (DSD) to the planning group. The letter states that the parking spaces are in “substantial conformance.” The city engineer can grant modifications on a case-by-case basis “where there are practical difficulties in carrying out the...provisions of the Municipal Code.” The 48 parking spaces sit between pillars that hold up the rest of the building.
Calls to DSD were not returned by press time.
Some planning group members were dismayed that the city allowed the development to continue despite seemingly apparent municipal code violations. The groups’ concerns sparked a letter from District 6 Councilwoman Donna Frye’s Office questioning the project’s compliance with parking code requirements. Frye refused to comment further on the issue.
Olsen said the city’s development process should be examined.
“Why did they let this project get away with not meeting parking requirements when they don’t let anybody else get away with it?” he said.
Project developer Michael Turk, owner of KD Development Inc., said he followed the law and that some community planning group members simply don’t like the project.
“The city okay’d it,” Turk said. “I could have put more [space]. That’s their call.”
He added that the condominium complex is better looking than the liquor store and empty gas station “eyesore” that was there several years ago. He said his project will benefit the city through approximately $150,000 a year in property taxes.
The commercial and residential units are tentatively set to go on sale in May.
The Pacific Beach Planning Group meets every fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch library at 4275 Cass St. The group advises the city on land use and city planning issues.