SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council Tuesday upheld a ruling by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to deny Jack in the Box Inc. the right to build a restaurant near MCAS Miramar.
The San Diego-based company's proposal to construct a 2,500-square-foot outlet at the corner of Scranton and Carroll Canyon roads was denied by the SDCRAA under the terms of a land-use plan that determines the compatibility of projects near air facilities.
The plan does not allow new restaurants in zones close enough to airports that large amounts of people would be endangered in case of an accident.
Jack in the Box exercised its right to ask the City Council to overturn the SDCRAA ruling. Five council members supported the appeal, but six votes were required.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said concerns over safety at the site were the "preposterous" product of military bureaucracy.
"I think the chances of an airplane falling out of the sky (at the location) are about the same as an asteroid coming down next week," Zapf said.
Councilman Carl DeMaio said businesses were watching the council's vote on the issue, which could cost San Diego private investment.
In filings with the city, Jack in the Box pointed out that the site was approved for a restaurant in 1987 and that its proposal calls for far fewer people to be served than at the sit-down eatery originally envisioned, and for less than pass through nearby intersections in a period of a few minutes. The company also contended that other restaurants operate nearby.
The site is a vacant lot on a raised pad above the street on the edge of a business district.
The vote came 3 1/2 years after a Marine F/A-18 that had engine troubles plunged into a University City neighborhood a couple of miles away from the proposed Jack in the Box site, killing four people and destroying two homes. A few weeks ago, another stricken military jet crashed into an apartment building in Virginia Beach, but no one was killed.
According to city staff, the military is concerned about safety in commercial locations, like dining establishments, where people are gathered in one confined place. In the other buildings in the area, offices and industrial parks, people are more spread out.
Council President Tony Young, the city's representative on the airport authority board, said land-use policy requires consistency, and cities get on "a slippery slope" if they start allowing exceptions.
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