San Diego sues over offices deemed a hazard to planes
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.