July 28, 2011

Showdown at the Flower Hill Mall

By Showdown at the Flower Hill Mall

Author:  Damien M. Schiff

The California Coastal Commission is making a ruckus over the expansion of the Flower Hill Mall, a popular spot located just east of the Del Mar Racetrack on the north coastal edge of the City of San Diego.  The Commission contends that the Mall's expansion requires a coastal development permit from the Commission, but the Mall's owners respond that the property falls within the City of San Diego's local coastal plan, and therefore that the Commission does not have original permitting jurisdiction over the expansion project (and presumably nobody bothered to appeal the City's permit to the Commission; one wonders what the ever-vigilant commissioners were doing).  The Commission hasn't backed down, apparently having sent a staffer to post a notice at the Mall indicating that each day the expansion goes forward, the Mall becomes liable for up to $15,000 per day in civil penalties.

Sign On San Diego reports that the Mall's hurry is because, if it doesn't get the expansion done in time, Whole Foods will decline to open up shop.  The Mall's attorney reports that the property is clearly within the City's jurisdiction and that even the City agrees with the Mall.

One suspects that the case against jurisdiction is a fairly strong one for the Mall's attorneys to counsel the Mall to go forward with the project at the risk of such heavy fines.  One wonders, though, whether, even assuming that the Mall is right, Whole Foods would want to move in to a facility that could have a legal cloud over it for some time to come.

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