Continue issue for many years or resolve it now?

Commercial Property Owners:

As you know, I’ve filed a Citizen’s Complaint against numerous commercial properties in downtown Del Mar alleging the City has waived parking requirements for these properties. This is not personal; it’s just business. The City has vigorously enforced the parking ordinance against 1201 Camino del Mar, and waived it for all of you. I’ve lost over $800,000 rent, while you’ve been allowed to operate numerous restaurants for many years without providing parking.

The City’s In-Lieu Parking Fee Ordinance requires me to pay $40,000 a year In-Lieu Fees. When this yearly payment is capitalized at 5 percent, it reduces the economic value of my property by $800,000. At the same time, the City’s waiver of your parking requirements has enriched your property values by millions. I’ve offered to drop this complaint when the City allows me to lease my property. Also, my attorneys at Rutan & Tucker have proposed the following solution to the City with no response:

(1) Dismiss the pending litigation with prejudice,

(2) Waive and release all claims and actions against the City for damages, lost rent, diminution in value, costs and expenses, and other losses or injuries arising out of or associated with the matters alleged in the litigation, and

(3) Waive and release all claims and actions against the City and third parties relating to his contention that other private properties in the downtown area have improperly been issued building permits and use entitlements notwithstanding the lack of compliance with applicable City parking standards and regulations.

Del Mar Residents:

I’ve spent over two years reviewing City files, and can document that most of the restaurants in downtown Del Mar, as well as other commercial properties, have been granted permits and allowed to continue operation, even though they failed to comply with the parking ordinance at the time they were created. The Planning Director has misled you by alleging these are “grandfathered uses.” Because 1201 Camino del Mar is the best parked building in town, the City attempted to coerce me to converting it into public parking, and thereby assist in solving the downtown parking problems. I refused, and portions of my building have set vacant from two to five years.

We’ve all got skin in this game: If the judge rules there’s been Selective Enforcement, the City may be required to reimburse my lost rent. Are Del Mar residents willing to take that chance? Do you want the City to continue spending $10,000-$20,000 a month on legal fees? Do you want Del Mar’s reputation to be tarnished when evidence of Del Mar’s misdeeds become public knowledge? The City Council has an opportunity to resolve this issue, but they don’t know what to do. Let them know if you’d like to continue this issue for many years into the future . . . or resolve it now.

George Conkwright

1201 Camino del Mar