City wants this to go away

La Jolla man is or­dered to re­move front­yard art piece or face fines

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Debbi Baker debbi.baker@la­ Baker writes for Times Com­mu­nity News.

A La Jolla man who was or­dered to take down his front­yard art in­stal­la­tion that of­fi­cials de­clared was an un­per­mit­ted struc­ture has two more weeks be­fore the city-im­posed dead­line ends and hefty fines could be­gin.

The hut-shaped piece is 8 feet by 10 feet and made of con­crete, me­tal, glass and other ma­te­ri­als in vivid shades of pinks, pur­ples and turquoise.

Us­ing mark­ers, pastes and crayon, sup­port­ers have writ­ten more than 120 mes­sages on the white plas­ter wall around Nasser Pi­rasteh’s ocean-view home on Nau­tilus Street and Avenida Manaña.

“You are nice and I like your art,” said one. “Homes like this in­spire pas­sion, love, hope and make me want to dance,” said an­other.

And a third: “Art makes life beau­ti­ful.”

Oth­ers scrawled “Don’t de­stroy it!” and “Please let it stay.”

The words, many writ­ten by chil­dren, are ac­com­pa­nied by whim­si­cal draw­ings as fan­ci­ful as the sculp­ture, which is ti­tled “In Out.” The draw­ings in­clude hearts, rain­bows, flow­ers, suns and happy faces.

‘I love this,” Pi­rasteh said. “Look at all th­ese friends.”

The mes­sages be­gan to ap­pear af­ter Pi­rasteh put out a card­board sign pasted with news­pa­per ar­ti­cles about the art­work, the fivepage re­moval no­tice from the city and a per­sonal let­ter from him that be­gins “Dear friends.” The let­ter says that the sculp­ture is an art in­stal­la­tion only, and is not, and has never been, a build­ing.

That’s the heart of the city’s com­plaint.

The city’s no­tice states that the home­owner was is in vi­o­la­tion of seven sec­tions of San Diego’s mu­nic­i­pal code in­volv­ing an ac­ces­sory struc­ture in his front­yard that he did not have a per­mit to build.

“You are hereby or­dered,” it reads, to “re­move the un­per­mit­ted struc­ture.” It goes on to say that fail­ure to com­ply will re­sult in penal­ties that “may be assessed at a daily rate not to ex­ceed $2,500 per day vi­o­la­tion; not to ex­ceed a to­tal max­i­mum of $250,000 per par­cel of struc­ture for any re­lated se­ries of vi­o­la­tions.”

The dead­line was May 6, but Pi­rasteh was granted a two-week ex­ten­sion be­cause of the death of his moth­erin-law, he said.

“He def­i­nitely has the right to ap­peal,” said city spokesman An­thony San­tacroce.

But, he added, “the stance of the city has not changed. As far as we’re con­cerned, it’s a struc­ture.”

“The city is not my en­emy,” Pi­rasteh said. “I never felt any bad feel­ings about this. Peo­ple are just do­ing their jobs.”

The artist also has his de­trac­tors.

In a pre­vi­ous story about him, one per­son com­mented, “This guy’s house and yard is one of THE big­gest eye­sores in La Jolla. Def­i­nitely proves the old adage that ‘One man’s trash is an­other’s trea­sure.’ Sadly, this one is mostly trash.”

“This ‘art’ is hideous,” wrote an­other, al­though he dis­agreed with the city’s de­mand­ing that it be re­moved, call­ing it “gov­ern­ment run amok.”

Pi­rasteh said he would love to talk to the folks who don’t like his art.

He also said he doesn’t know what he’s go­ing to do when the new dead­line ar­rives.

“If this were a build­ing and it vi­o­lated the code, then it should be taken down,” he said. “But art lifts all of us up and should stand. And this is art.”

San­tacroce said that if Pi­rasteh is not in com­pli­ance once the dead­line passes, the fines will be­gin.

Pho­to­graphs by John Gib­bins San Diego Union-Tri­bune

THE WALL around La Jolla artist Nasser Pi­rasteh’s home is full of mes­sages from peo­ple sup­port­ing his vivid sculp­ture, ti­tled “In Out.”

UN­DER SAN DIEGO’S mu­nic­i­pal code, Pi­rasteh did not have a per­mit to build an ac­ces­sory struc­ture in his front­yard. “The city is not my en­emy,” he says.

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