San Mateo officials had hoped to face attorneys for 7-Eleven in court by late April and no later than late May to start a process to determine whether a store on San Mateo Drive should be allowed to stay open after the City Council ruled the market use for the land was illegal earlier this year.
The city is in a heated battle with 7-Eleven and the property owner it leases from, Portfolio Development Partners, over whether the store should stay open and how much the city will have to possibly pay in damages if the court does side with the city. Attorneys for both 7-Eleven and PDP say they will lose a combined $8 million if the store is forced to close after buying the property for $1 million and upgrading it from an old deli into a modern market.
Earlier this week, San Mateo Mayor David Lim sent an email to some of the neighborhood residents who voiced the most opposition to the 24-hour market opening in the mostly residential neighborhood that said attorneys for PDP and 7-Eleven have used “numerous legal tactics to delay proceedings.”
Now, Lim wrote, the city will not face its foes in court until Aug. 29 when a judge will decide whether the cases should be thrown out after both sides filed demurrers.
“PDP and 7-Eleven have also sought to delay matters by failing to file their legal briefs in a regular manner, and we expect they will continue to use delaying tactics,” Lim wrote in the email.
At some point, two judges were assigned to the multiple lawsuits but the city recently convinced the court to assign one judge to hear all the issues, Lim wrote.
After the Aug. 29 hearing, the court will determine what other hearings will be necessary, Lim wrote.
Since the city filed its original lawsuit seeking to compel 7-Eleven to close, PDP and 7-Eleven have filed three separate lawsuits.
“The original hearing date for the city’s request to close 7-Eleven was supposed to have been heard July 18. However, PDP and 7-Eleven have each filed a lawsuit against the City Council, claiming our decision was made in error, and asking the court to order the City Council to reverse their decision. This proceeding is called a ‘Writ of Mandate,’” Lim wrote in the email to Christine Stiles, Nancy Chiappe and a few others.
Since the council ruled the market use was illegal and that building permits were issued in error, two planners who worked on the PDP application have quit the city and Community Development Director Lisa Grote has announced she will resign her post this September. Grote has overseen the city’s Planning Division the past three years.
Lim sticks by the council’s decision to rule the market use illegal.
“Happily, the city has a top-notch legal team that I believe will ultimately prevail. I believe that the city acted properly within the law in our decision, and will ultimately be vindicated by the court,” he wrote in the email.
He also praised the residents who live near the store for urging the council to challenge the Planning Division’s decision to allow the 7-Eleven to open.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106