San Luis Obispo officials plan to go back to court to compel a local developer to pay $13,200 in outstanding fines for violations on a residential property they say constitutes a public nuisance and has frustrated neighbors for several years.
San Luis Obispo officials said that Ryan Petetit, chief executive officer of San Luis Obispo-based PB Companies, is in breach of an agreement he made with the city last November to “diligently pursue construction of the single-family residence” at 1179 San Carlos Drive near Sinsheimer Park.
But Petetit and his business partner and attorney, John Belsher, disagree with that assertion and said they are trying to move ahead on the project.
This week, the pair sounded frustrated.
Belsher said the city required plan changes and rescinded then reinstated a 2012 building permit, contributing to delays. City staff turnover and the time it takes to check plans was also a factor, he said.
“We’re on our third chief building official,” Belsher said. “We’ve gotten three different directions, three different interpretations.”
Most recently, the city issued a stop-work notice June 19.
Officials “felt the work that was occurring at the site at that time was not covered in the scope of the permit that has been issued,” Chief Building Official Anne Schneider said. “It’s unresolved at this time.”
County records show that Petetit owed about $13,000 in four years of back taxes on the San Carlos Drive property as of last week.
Petetit said Tuesday he was unaware that the taxes had not been paid, as notices had been sent to an old address, and planned to resolve the issue the same day. The tax collector’s office confirmed that the taxes were paid Tuesday.
“I’ll also say that I take ownership of the issues with this house,” said Petetit, an Arroyo Grande resident.
“I don’t think that any of us are maliciously causing these delays,” he added, “and the delays aren’t caused by a lack of motivation to have progress by either party.”
PB Companies has several projects in the works in San Luis Obispo: a mixed-use development at Marsh and Nipomo streets downtown; the San Luis Obispo Public Market at Bonetti Ranch, at South Higuera Street and Tank Farm Road; and four two-story homes on Grand Avenue. Other developments include two residential projects in Templeton.
Petetit purchased the 6,622-square-foot parcel at the corner of San Carlos Drive and Santa Clara Street in 2011.
The property contained a 1,119-square-foot home, built in 1954, and is assessed at $191,880, county records show.
The home was dilapidated and abandoned, according to a nuisance abatement complaint filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court by the city attorney’s office last October.
The city issued Petetit a building permit in June 2011 for foundation repair and new footings.
From August 2011 to March 2012, he received 10 administrative citations for failing to comply with the city’s urban storm water management requirements, which mostly appear to be due to sediment tracked off the property.
In March 2012, the city issued another permit for demolition and construction of a single-family home, but that work didn’t take place.
Petetit met with the city in September 2013 and agreed to pay all outstanding fines and correct various violations, according to the city’s complaint. The home was demolished in January 2014, though the foundation remained.
According to the city’s complaint, officials re-inspected the property in September after neighbors complained about the conditions of the property, and found that no building activity had happened since January. Another notice of violation was issued. The city filed a complaint in court last October.
In November, the city reached a settlement agreement in which Petetit agreed to pay $1,500 toward the citations — which totaled $14,700 — and $1,033 to reinstate his building permit.
Assistant City Attorney Jon Ansolabehere said the city can’t force a property owner to build, but it waived most of the citation fines on the assumption that Petetit would construct a home.
Belsher said the property was nearly ready for foundation to be poured when the city issued the stop-work order. A June 2 email from Building Inspector David Fogg to Petetit notes that the footings were about 90 percent complete.
“The city and property owner are trying to move ahead, but the red tape and building inspection processes are complicated and time-consuming,” Belsher said, adding that additional material was requested by and provided to the city last week.
Ansolabehere said the city plans to file a motion in court to enforce the agreement and seek the rest of the money for the citations and attorney’s fees.
Petetit said he hopes to resolve the issue this week.
“We’re doing everything we can on both sides to work it out and proceed,” he said.