The deadline came last week for Little Italy developer Moe Siry to address the city of San Diego’s order to make clear the existence of apartments alongside the hotel rooms at his Porto Vista Hotel & Suites.

I heard this morning from Bob Vacchi, deputy director in the city’s Neighborhood Code Compliance Division, who said he’d received an e-mail on Friday from the developer’s attorney. It appears that the developer is making “good steps towards compliance,” Vacchi said.

Vacchi said the e-mail stated that the developer is putting together a design for a permanent sign for the building labeling the existence of apartments. The city is expecting to see that design sometime this week for approval.

In addition, the developer is making modifications to the company’s websites, Vacchi said. The Porto Vista website had already been changed to include a mention of “Staying for more than 30 days?” and announcing the availability of furnished studio units for month-to-month leasing.

“But I wanted something a little more direct,” Vacchi said. So the developer will be adding the Porto Vista’s studio apartments to his existing apartment rental website, he said.

“So I think those are good steps towards compliance,” Vacchi said.

Siry developed the project from a Super 8 Motel several years ago, getting approval in 2004 for a complete remodel. At that time, neighborhood zoning rules mandated that while Siry could permissibly expand the number of hotel rooms available from the original 84 motel rooms, he also must develop some residential living space.

The hotel/apartment mix was approved in accordance with the neighborhood’s own blueprint for its growth.

The city had sent Siry a notice on Sept. 23 identifying several violations, including some related to the fact that the developer had yet to make it clear that there are apartments available in his building, despite being asked to do so more than a month ago. And on some of the units that are technically apartments, Siry told the city this summer that he has been renting them out for less than 30 days, which is not permitted without first requesting permission from city planners.

Vacchi is expecting to have more information about the developer’s progress later this week. We’ll keep you posted.

KELLY BENNETT

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