Small Bar's owner issues big warning

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The owner of a popular bar is warning all San Diegans after what seemed like a small oversight cost her tens of thousands of dollars.

Karen Barnett, who owns Small Bar in University Heights, said she lost $50,000 to $60,000 in business because a city inspector found she didn't have a permit for her outdoor patio. Barnett said the patio was there before she rented the space for Small Bar in 2009, and she believed the permit was already authorized.

That was not the case. In September, a city inspector discovered the lack of a permit and made Barnett strip the patio or face big fines.

"I feel like they're trying to scare me, and I don't think that's what city government should do," Barnett said at the time.

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Barnett went through the permitting process and got approved for the new patio, which opened this month. Now, people are once again outside on the patio.

Shantih Beeman, a regular at Small Bar, has dubbed the reopening "St. Patio's Day."

"I moved from Chicago to San Diego to be outside and enjoy," he said. "Good people, good beers, good conversations."

Barnett called the permitting process long and tricky and said it's important to double check any improvement projects with the city.

A city spokesman echoed that statement, saying, "When purchasing or using property, people are encouraged to exercise due diligence to ensure the proper use of the property and whether any improvements either existing or proposed are allowed. This can involve extensive research in a variety of locations, and it is unique to each situation."

With Small Bar's patio issue in the past, it's back to normal right outside the cozy University Heights bar.

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