SUNSET CLIFFS, Calif. (KGTV) - It’s the first ever street fair planned for the small business district in Sunset Cliffs, but not all local merchants are on board. Some claim it was planned behind their backs and will force them to close their doors on Saturday because their block will be shut down.
“It’s just been one lie and deceit after another,” said Maria Wimer, who owns Sunset Cliffs Pilates on the 4700 block of Point Loma Avenue, which is scheduled to be closed for 12 hours this Saturday for the fair.
Earlier this month, she said her business was listed on the website of a new organization, the Sunset Cliffs Merchants Association, without her consent.
That association as well as the Garbage Beach Surf Club are listed as sponsors of the street fair on fliers. Both of those organizations were created by Richard Aguirre, who spearheaded planning for the street fair.
“We’re looking for it to be an awesome event. Super fun,” Aguirre told 10News.
He said they received the permit from the City of San Diego this week and have dozens of vendors and bands lined up.
Aguirre said he wanted to organize a fair in the area not only to help the local businesses get some attention but to bring together the locals in the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood.
“It’s more of a conscious movement so we can have a common voice so that we can rebut what the city says the community wants,” said Aguirre.
He’s referring to community resistance to plans to redevelop parts of Sunset Cliffs that would add parking meters and a camp ground. He claims there are other issues, like adding in storm drains to reduce erosion that have gone unnoticed by local officials.
“We don’t want a bunch of tourism down here. We’re looking to bring our community together and create a district for us,” he said.
Aguirre said he has support of many of the businesses in the area. He showed 10News a list of businesses his group had approached. It included The Surf Check, T & T Alterations, Ocean Breeze, JC White Plumbing, Rosarias Pizza, Sea Trader Liquor, Beauty and the Beach Salon, Farmers Insurance, Farlanders Landscape and St. Peters by the Sea Church.
But Wimer notes several issues with the list. The Surf Check is Aguirre’s own business and is not located on the 4700 block of Point Loma Ave. She said she had spoken to the owners of T & T Alterations and Beauty and the Beach Salon who told her they no longer support the event.
The owner of Beauty and the Beach told 10News one of her employees had signed the sheet but she had no knowledge of the event until the signs started popping up in early August. She said she liked the idea of a street fair, but felt deceived by the process.
A spokesperson for the City of San Diego told 10News “When reviewing a special event permit application, City staff cannot take into consideration the message or content of the special event nor the purpose or goals of an organization or individual hosting the event.
The applicant in this case met all the requirements for special event permit issuance, including compliance with operational, regulatory and public safety requirements, and even changed some of the event specifics to accommodate community concerns.
The applicant is expected to follow all appropriate rules and laws during the event and, as with any special event in the City of San Diego, the City will monitor the event and if rules or laws are broken will take appropriate action at that time.”