City cites owner of partially developed La Jolla property on Soledad Avenue

By Pat Sherman

The San Diego City Attorney’s office has filed charges against the owner of an ocean-view La Jolla property that has remained in an unfinished state of development for approximately eight years.

Several neighbors of the property at 1855 Soledad Ave. phoned

La Jolla Light

to complain about the unsightly concrete and wood skeleton protruding from the lot.

Neighbor Michael Dessent, who also complained to the office of District 1 City Council member Sherri Lightner, said the property is an “unattractive nuisance,” and, given the recent warm weather, a potential fire hazard.

“They finally put up a fence, but the tarp is blowing all over the place,” Dessent said. “It’s really a dump; it just sits there year after year.”

Dessent and another neighbor, Natalie Schmidt, both said several offers were made on the property, including one from a neighbor, though they were not accepted.

“That’s pretty upsetting,” Schmidt said. “(The property) is just so ugly and an embarrassment.”

Lynda Pfeifer with the city’s development services department said that on Sept. 16, 2013 the city’s code enforcement unit issued a citation to owner George Papas for active construction without a permit. Since no action was taken, the matter was forwarded to the city attorney’s office.

Papas has been charged with a misdemeanor violation of San Diego Municipal Code for failing to renew an outdated development permit (which carries a potential penalty of a $1,000 fine or six months in jail).

According to the city’s complaint, the owner  “did unlawfully fail to obtain a new building permit within 90 calendar days from the date of a written notice from the city, to diligently pursue the work to completion, and remove and demolish the (existing) building within 180 calendar days from the date of the written notice.”

Papas did not return a call to the

Light

seeking comment on the property or his plans. According to Thomas Mitchell in the city attorney’s office, Papas pleaded “not guilty” to the charges on May 1. A readiness hearing is set for June 12. The owner has been given the option of completing the construction, demolishing or selling. Property records show the .29-acre, oceanfront property, with a home originally built in 1953, last sold in 2003 for $1.4 million.

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