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City Official Allegedly Lobbied in Favor of Sunroad Last Week

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Aired 4/19/09

Intrigue continues to plague San Diego City Hall in connection with the height of the Sunroad Centrum building near Montgomery Field. The latest wrinkle involves a high level city staffer, who allegedly is still lobbying for more than the 160 feet height limit the FAA allows. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Under public pressure , Mayor Sanders issued an order back in June requiring Sunroad to reduce the height of its new Centrum office tower to 160 feet to comply with airspace safety limits.

But City councilwoman Donna Frye says the deputy chief of land use, Jim Waring, asked her last week if the pilots at Montgomery Field might support a permit for 166 feet. 

Mayor Jerry Sanders is on vacation and Waring is out of the country.

Mayoral spokesman Fred Sainz says Warings comments do not reflect the mayor's position

Sainz: If the conversation is as Miss Frye portrays, it was certainly completely inappropriate and outrageous and should never have occurred.

City Attorney Mike Aguirre has written a letter to the mayor. 

Aguirre: We need to know if you changed your position or if in fact you are going to insist on 160, and if so we would like to know why JimWaring was doing what he was doing.

Sainz says Sanders expects Sunroad to fulfill its commitment to reduce the size from 180 to 160 feet.

Sainz: We should see progress in terms of the building being reduced in size visibly fairly shortly -- I think in the next two weeks .

The company has applied for permission to begin deconstruction of the top floors of the building, but little progress has been made so far. The top 20 feet are supposed to be gone by November. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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