Letters/Opinion: Lawsuit filed against Del Mar

Dear Residents and Commercial Property Owners of Del Mar,

I’m writing to advise you that I recently filed a lawsuit against Del Mar, identified as: Conkwright vs. Del Mar, case #37-2011-00054394-CU-PT-NC.

The basis for this lawsuit is summarized by the speech I read to the City Council at its Feb. 22 hearing, and my correspondence for the May 9, 2011 City Council closed session hearing (to read both the Feb. 22 speech and May 9 correspondence, see below).

It’s not my desire to close down Del Mar businesses, but rather to convince a judge that 1201 should not be singled out and required to comply with a parking ordinance that has never been enforced against other similarly zoned properties.

I hope you will advise your city councilpersons that it will be better for them to acknowledge the situation and clean up their mess rather than continue to defend what has been a corrupt system. Otherwise, a judge will eventually order the city of Del Mar to enforce the parking ordinance in a uniform manner.

George Conkwright owner, 1201 Camino del Mar

Correspondence for May 9, 2011 City Council closed session Hearing

George Conkwright, 1201 Camino del Mar

At the Feb. 22 City Council hearing I read the speech (see below). Still, the City Council voted to uphold Ralph Peck’s appeal. This City Council vote requires me to file a lawsuit within 90 days, and that lawsuit will be filed soon. My goal in filing it is not to shut down other businesses, but to convince a judge that 1201 should not be singled out and required to comply with a parking ordinance that has never been enforced against other similarly- zoned properties.

The City Council now has two possible courses of action:

(1) You can fight the lawsuit, and continue to defend what has been a corrupt system of “back door permits” issued to under-parked properties.

(2) Or you can acknowledge that there’s been a lot of “discrepant use permits” issued in Del Mar, and pass by resolution a “sunset clause” . . . which, at some point in the future, terminates uses that don’t comply with a new and reasonable parking ordinance. Alternately, those under-parked properties could be allowed to fund spaces in a public parking garage.

If you continue to single out 1201 for enforcement of an impossible parking ordinance, the City’s involvement in all these “discrepant use permits” will become public knowledge. My requests for production of documents will require that you eventually acknowledge that many of Del Mar’s restaurants and other uses, including the Del Mar Library, were never properly permitted. It’s all documented in public records. For example, the specific plan for the Plaza states:

“Outdoor dining shall be allowed on terraces associated with a restaurant space provided an equivalent amount of interior restaurant square footage is not used during services of outdoor dining.” It also states “total interior and exterior dining areas shall not exceed 14,400 square feet.”

Smashburger’s development exceeded the Plaza’s maximum restaurant footage, and provides no additional parking for the inside space or the outside food-serving patio, which is partially located on private property. In fact, Del Mar has never required parking for any outside food-serving deck . . . anywhere in town . . . except at 1201 Camino del Mar.

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