North Park business owners told to tear down outdoor dining structures

Local

SAN DIEGO — Jillian Ziska opened Verbena Kitchen in North Park in July.

After applying for an outdoor dining permit about two weeks ago, she said her restaurant got full approval from the City of San Diego last week.

“We finished it over the weekend for opening this past Wednesday – and yesterday we got served with a notice saying we had 10 days to take it down,” Ziska said.

Her next door neighbor on University is also frustrated.

“We had no idea this was coming — no one informed us this was imminent,” said Erik Evans, owner of North Park Creamery. “No one bothered to inform us. We were building things that would need to be torn down.”

City officials said the structures must come down to make way for a bus lane that is part of the University Avenue Mobility Project.

Breakfast Republic owner Johan Engman said a contractor representative first visited with a 72-hour notice, then he talked with a city engineer.

“He said no, no – that’s not the case,” he said. “You’re going to receive a notice from the city that’s going to give you 45 days. Three days later, I get this letter that states I have 10 days to remove it.”

Now, business owners along University Avenue who spent thousands of dollars on the structures are waiting for the next move from the city. Some say they will not back down.

“I don’t know what to believe, and I have no intention of taking this down,” Engman said.

FOX 5 received a statement from the City of San Diego about the issue:

The University Avenue Mobility Project is installing various multi-modal enhancements along University Avenue to improve safety and mobility. The City of San Diego is working individually with businesses that have permitted Temporary Outdoor Business Operations to relocate and move operations located where work will take place with as much anticipation as feasibly possible, exceeding the minimum 10-day notice that must be provided. Additionally, some outdoor operations will not be replaced on University Avenue after the new infrastructure is installed. In these cases, the City will assist businesses to explore alternative solutions to relocate operations. 

City of San Diego spokesperson

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