The ongoing legal quarrel between FlightCar and the city of Millbrae continues, this time FlightCar — an airport business that allows people to rent out their personal cars — is suing Millbrae for irreparable damages, lawyer fees associated with lawsuits with the city and requesting Millbrae issue it use permits at the same time the startup is planning to move its business to a nearby city.
A FlightCar representative told the Burlingame City Council Monday night that the company is working on something in South San Francisco, said Burlingame City Manager Lisa Goldman. FlightCar has filed a business application with South San Francisco and the city is processing it, said South San Francisco Assistant City Manager Kathy Mount.
The lawsuit filed in the state of California in San Mateo County Superior Court Wednesday is a technical filing to make it clear to the court the company has covered all its bases and to prove there wasn’t a violation of use permits which were originally revoked on Nov. 12, 2013, said FlightCar’s attorney Oliver “Lock” Holmes. The city said it was pulling the use permit because of issues including three FlightCar rentals being stolen since the company moved into the 14,159-square-foot 480 El Camino Real site on two parcels of the former Daland Nissan, according to the police department. Other issues included unapproved electrical generator use, fire hazards and not maintaining the landscape.
“They’re moving to another location since they’ve outgrown that (the Millbrae) facility,” Holmes said. “They’re enjoying good growth in business and will announce the new location shortly.”
The business will be moving into the new location over the next several days and it’s close enough to Burlingame that the business is keeping an overflow lot there. The Burlingame City Council approved FlightCar’s conditional use permit for this space on David Road off Rollins Road April 7.
“If Millbrae’s actions are left unrestrained, plaintiffs will be irreparably injured in that, among other things, FlightCar’s customers will be damaged and FlightCar’s reputation and goodwill will be irreparably damaged,” the suit states.
It goes on to state that the only conditions that FlightCar is arguably not compliant with are conditions not within its control. The city refused to give out the business license based on alleged non-compliance with the conditional use permit even though Millbrae has admitted that FlightCar is in compliance, the suit states. FlightCar repeatedly has asked Millbrae what it needed to do to obtain all permits and was told that, although it was compliant with requirements, its conditional use permit was revoked, according to the suit.
The latest suit goes on to state that “the actions, decisions and findings and/or customs, practices and policies of defendants described in this complaint amount to deliberate indifference to the rights of FlightCar as hereinabove, as well as amounts to a denial of due process, equal protection and valuable, vested property rights.”
The company’s primary service is renting out people’s cars through its website while traveling, giving them a share of the proceeds, free airport parking and a car wash in exchange. Customers are taken by limousine from a nearby airport parking lot to their flights at the San Francisco International Airport, while the business says renters get a cheaper price.
The company ran into trouble this summer with the San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who wanted to shut it down until it complied with regulations including conducting pickups and dropoffs at a special area, paying 10 percent of gross profits to the airport and paying a $20 per rental transaction, according to a Millbrae staff report.
FlightCar also sued the city in San Mateo County Superior Court on Nov. 18, 2013, stating the non-compliance identified at the Millbrae Planning Commission hearing and in the commission’s report either relate to matters which FlightCar had previously corrected, or matters which are unrelated to the terms of FlightCar’s conditional use permit. The city followed with a suit in December 2013. It also states the effect of the city’s actions has been to “thoroughly and capriciously prejudice the rights of the plaintiff by denying it the ability to operate its business.”
Millbrae’s city attorney could not be reached for comment.
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