San Diego sues over of­fices deemed a haz­ard to planes

Los Angeles Times - - California -

SAN DIEGO — The city will en­force a stop-work or­der for an of­fice tower whose con­struc­tion it ap­proved near the Mont­gomery Field air­port, Mayor Jerry San­ders an­nounced Fri­day.

San­ders’ an­nounce­ment comes af­ter the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion last year warned Sun­road En­ter­prises that the $45-mil­lion, 180-foot-tall build­ing was 20 feet too high and posed a haz­ard to small planes.

While San­ders said Sun­road ap­peared to have “in­ten­tion­ally ig­nored” the FAA’s ad­mo­ni­tions about the build­ing’s height, he said the city mis­han­dled the project by is­su­ing per­mits.

“The city de­serves its share of the blame,” San­ders said at a news con­fer­ence. “The De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices De­part­ment and the city at­tor­ney’s of­fice were aware of the FAA con­cerns and, for rea­sons that are not en­tirely clear, failed to act. I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for that mis­take.”

Sun­road spokes­woman Karen Hutchens said the build­ing does not present a haz­ard, and she wel­comed San­ders’ in­volve­ment.

The city has sued Sun­road, seek­ing a court or­der to force the com­pany to tear down the top two floors.

Sun­road, ar­gu­ing that the city is­sued per­mits for a 180-footh­igh build­ing, has sued the city for $40 mil­lion.

San­ders pro­posed re­mov­ing a faux ar­chi­tec­tural fea­ture atop the build­ing. This would re­duce its height to 163 feet.

He or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how the project made it through the city’s re­view process.

“Safe­guards will be put in place so that this kind of mis­take can never hap­pen again,” he said.

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