Who We Are

We are a group of long-time North Park residents launching a new kind of community activist alliance with one focus: empowering neighborhoods to demand that land use laws be enforced.

For too many years, North Park has been plagued by development projects that violate the law and erode the quality of life in our community. The notorious Jack in the Box reconstruction at 30th and Upas was the last straw. When the developer gamed the system to build an illegal restaurant complex, and when city officials caved in by granting “exceptions” to the law, we took action and filed our own lawsuit.

As news of the lawsuit spread, we were contacted by CareAboutClairemont.com, a group of like-minded neighborhood activists who have successfully blocked a developer’s gambit to jettison existing land use laws. With help from our allies in Clairemont, we have formed CareAboutNorthPark.com, a website that will be a portal for organizing an array of community action initiatives: rallies, signature drives, fund-raising campaigns, and media outreach.

What’s Next?

TRIAL POSTPONED!
The trial has unexpectedly been postponed until September 25th by SD Superior Court.
Details to follow when we know more..

The Opening Brief clearly spells out Factual Background, Procedural History, and Argument and Analysis, in support of our claim that JIB’s rebuild violated Municipal Code and that the City failed to comply with CEQA.

History

* Opened in 1961: All restaurant traffic entered and exited directly from the top of the original “T” intersection on 30th Street.* Mid-1980s: Due to excessive traffic accidents on Upas Street, the city cut a new driveway entrance from a residential street alongside the restaurant, directly in front of homes.

* 2000: The city and community agreed to rezone the area to “CN” (Commercial Neighborhood) to accommodate and promote the neighborhood’s growing pedestrian character. Auto-intensive uses such as gas stations, drive-throughs for restaurants, live music venues, etc. can no longer be introduced – or rebuilt. The JIB drive-through became a “previously conforming” use and was allowed to exist but would face strict review from Planning Commission for rebuilding or significant alterations.

* 2011: JIB initiated an effort to demolish and rebuild. The community supported JIB’s rebuilding without the drive-through because of the significant traffic safety and residential impacts. JIB pressed forward; neighborhood residents and business owners, with the support of the local planning committee and business improvement district, implored the city to apply and enforce the municipal code.

* 2012 – August 23rd: The San Diego Planning Commission unanimously DENIED the rebuild project.

* 2012: JIB immediately began a permitting request under “Maintenance, Repair or Alteration” to previously conforming use to remodel. City incorrectly permitted the plans, including rebuilding the drive-through, disregarding the required path back through Planning Commission dictated by the cost of the work being done.

* 2013 – June 3rd: The community learned of the impending remodel in a letter from JIB to the local planning committee. SEE THE LETTER HERE. Within days the original structure was demolished.

* 2013 – July 1st: At meeting in mayor’s office:
1) DSD director tells attendees JIB has exceeded even the permit that they were given. Work on JIB has stopped.
2) But also unveils for the first time, the City’s new view that the drive-through window is a structural feature and not a “use”.
3) Community maintains the cost of the approved planned remodel should have triggered Planning Commission review of findings again.
4) City asks City Attorney for formal opinion on permitting process and JIB violations.

* 2013 – July 13: “Do The Right Thing, Jack” campaign is born. The Facebook page is launched, 50 yards signs are posted in the community, the 1st of 350 petition signatures is gathered, banners and flyers posted.

RETURN TO TOP

* 2013 – July 16: Community learns Mayor Filner will be addressing the problem. Staff member tells Planning Committee that based upon City Attorney’s confidential opinion, the community was right and is in a win-win position.* 2013 – July 29: Following two weeks waiting for expected mayor’s action:
1) Mayor’s chief of staff Lee Burdick explains that the City Attorney opined permitting process DID NOT follow the intent of the Land Development Code and while the mayor is frustrated as well, the permitting process fell through the cracks – as city could be exposed to a suit from JIB the ‘better bet’ is to make sure it never happens again. SEE THE LETTER HERE.
2) Construction at JIB resumes.

* 2013 – August 14: An extensive effort to raise funding among business owners and residents collectively, the community files suit against the city over the operation of the drive through window. A hearing for a Temporary Restraining Order is held in SD Superior Court. Judge denies issuance of stop use order finding that JIB stands to suffer significantly more loss than the community while litigation proceeds. A date for trial scheduling is set.

* 2013 – August 29th: Mayor Filner takes discretionary action and issues a Stop Use Order on the JIB.

* 2013 – August 30th (5:02pm): In first act as interim mayor, North Park’s own Todd Gloria rescinds the order. As a discretionary act, this is clearly subject to legal review as SD Charter 265(i) clearly states that discretionary actions are not a power of a non duly-elected (interim/appointed) mayor. Gloria takes this action after previously stating he was “offended” by JIB’s action and chooses to place blame on loopholes in the code allowing for the permitting.

* 2013 – 1st week September: JIB drive through window opens for business

* 2013 – October 30th: (Amended) Complaint filed. Causes of Action: 1) Maintenance, Use, or Construction of Premises without Neighborhood Development Permit, 2) Discretionary Action Potentially Affecting Environment without Environmental Review, 3) Public Nuisance, and 4) Violation of a Lawful Stop Use Order.

* 2014-2015 – After 1-1/2 years and 4 delays, in January, 2015, San Diego Superior Court judge Ronald Prager upheld the city’s late-filing argument and dismissed the suit without addressing the circumstances that led to the late filing. This, in addition to the judge having improperly considered information outside of the motion, gives us confidence that the judge’s ruling will be reversed on appeal and the suit will go forward to trial..

* 2016 – May 23: We won the appeal! The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision of 3-0, reversed the grant of summary judgment made by the trial court regarding the statute of limitations in our case against the City and Jack in the Box. Click HERE to read the decision.