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 San Diego mayor says building near airport is too tall: City orders contractor to lop off 20 feet

The fur is flying in San Diego. Mayor Jerry Sanders has ordered a contractor to remove the top 20 feet of an office tower near Montgomery Field. The 180-foot building has been deemed a hazard to air navigation.

This comes after months of legal wrangling where the contractor, Sunroad Enterprises, went ahead and finished the project despite warnings from the FAA that the building was too tall. The California Division of Aeronautics, local pilots, and AOPA shared the same opinion. In fact, AOPA is party to a lawsuit against Sunroad.

"This decisive action by the city of San Diego is important for pilots," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president airports. "We are anxiously awaiting the destruction of this obstacle at Montgomery Field."

At a June 22 press conference, the mayor announced the city's latest stop-work order for the 12-story project. Sunroad has until August 25 to reduce the height of the building. According to a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune , Sunroad executives said they would comply with the stop-work order but did not commit to tearing down the two top stories.

Sunroad reportedly has plans for two more buildings in the same location, which were also designed to exceed the 160-foot level, the maximum allowed by the FAA to ensure safety of flight.

Meanwhile, San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre and the mayor have been at odds over the project. Aguirre has alleged that the mayor acted corruptly by allowing a campaign donor to build a tall building so close to the airport. The state attorney general's office will now investigate the corruption claims, the newspaper said.

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