One Man’s La Mesa Permit Journey

Mr. Tony Gaipa, owner of the old pharmacy building at Palm and La Mesa Boulevard, diligently and politely toiled through La Mesa’s permit labyrinth. “Any day now” he was going to be issued his permits and La Mesa was going to get a Japanese restaurant and French pastry/ice cream shop.

“Any day now” became three-plus years and with no permits in hand or even on the horizon, Mr. Gaipa lost his tenants. In frustration, he boarded his storefront and wrote: “Due to the City’s inability to issue permits in a timely manner (3+ years), we have lost our ice cream/cafe tenants. Therefore, this building will be permanently closed.”

At the City Council meeting, same day, I displayed the above photo of his boarded building, read the email he wrote describing the financial and emotional toll the City’s permit process had taken on him, and publicly attributed Mr. Gaipa’s troubles to La Mesa’s dysfunctional permit process.

I believe we were heard. Mr. Gaipa’s permits are being fast-tracked and are in the final stage of issuance.

Going forward, Councilwoman Patricia Dillard and I will meet monthly with people and businesses struggling to get permits and City staff responsible for issuing permits. Our goal is a vastly improved permit process in La Mesa.