Reporter Throws a Wrench Into U-T San Diego ‘Car Museum’

Score one for Voice of San Diego contributor Randy Dotinga. Thanks to his efforts in connection with an article published yesterday, the city of San Diego is renewing efforts to determine whether modifications made to U-T San Diego headquarters in Mission Valley to accommodate a “car museum” were done to code.

Never mind that the idea of an automotive showplace at a daily newspaper office makes no sense whatsoever. According to Dotinga’s article, a city inspector was turned away by newspaper staff last month and a new city permit office investigation has now been launched:

John Lynch, the newspaper’s CEO, seems unconcerned. “Get a life,” he wrote in an email after I asked him about the investigation Monday. Lynch, who’s previously expressed dissatisfaction with city regulations regarding the use of the U-T building, declined to make any other comment…

The newspaper doesn’t appear to have the appropriate permit to build the auto museum, said city spokeswoman Lynda Pfeifer. “However, the investigation is ongoing and no violations have been confirmed,” she said.

Within the next two weeks, city officials expect to determine whether this effort to showcase restored classic cars will come at a hefty penalty price. Since buying the paper, Lynch and owner Douglas Manchester have also added a TV studio and ground floor cafe to the Mission Valley HQ.

Update – 08/10/12: In a U-T San Diego piece today about the unusual vintage car showplace, Manchester says the city inspected the HQ modifications after they were completed. He says no fines were levied, with the city simply requesting that a permit be belatedly obtained for the rear-access ramp.

[Photo courtesy @steveschmidt1]