Mayor Jerry Sanders has released a remedial plan that he said will address the “numerous system failures” that occurred during the Sunroad building saga.

The changes, which he outlined in a five-page memo to the City Council last week, hail largely from the recommendations his Office of Ethics & Integrity made following its July 19 report.

Sanders said the city’s Development Services Department, which reviews and tracks the progress of building projects in San Diego, will update its checklists for monitoring developments to include more safeguards pertaining to the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules for building near airports. The mayor also established a protocol for DSD to follow for issuing a stop-work order when a developer appears to be building above an agreed-to height limit, such as in the Sunroad case.

The city will more frequently discuss with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and the FAA regarding land-use decisions around San Diego airports.

The mayor also wants to reorganize the municipal bureaucracy by removing the city’s airports agency outside of the purview of the land use and economic development chief, the position formerly held by Jim Waring, who was forced out in the wake of the controversy. Allowing Waring to oversee all of the agencies involved in the case — planning, development services, real estate assets and airports — created a “potential conflict of interest” that prevented the dispute from ever rising to the view of the mayor or his chief operating officer, Sanders said.

Sanders also wants to create an “Economic Development Impact Committee” comprised of Sanders’ top policy advisors and administrators that deal with land use, development and public works, as well as a representative from the City Attorney’s Office. The committee would meet monthly or more frequently to assess current development projects and brief Sanders and the City Council on those projects. Sanders said he hopes the committee will strengthen the ties between the administration and the City Attorney’s Office, which was found by the Mayor’s Office’s investigation to be badly frayed.

The mayor also said he is considering combining the city’s two land use agencies, the Development Services Department and City Planning and Community Investment Department. However, that the proposal requires further study, he said.


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