Artist could be fined $250K for sculpture

Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 25, 2016

A massive new structure in a La Jolla artist's front yard is catching many eyes, including the city's. 

And that could mean a $250,000 fine for artist Nasser Pirasteh.

"Pretty soon they're going to come to my house and they're going to tell me how many eggs I put in my omelet, then I need a permit for that too," he said.

Pirasteh didn't think he needed permits for the sculpture, about 10 feet tall and 11 feet wide, with an atrium inside. But the city says it's a structure, which needed a permit to be built, and for its electrical wiring.

The city gave Pirasteh until May 7 to take it down, or he'll be fined $2,500 a day until he reaches $250,000. 

"I don't know where they're going to use that money, for Chargers or whatever," he said.

The sculpture, with a nautical theme on the outside, and beach sand and a briefcase with old newspapers on the inside, is supposed to represent the clock of life. 

"You see moon, all kinds of fish, you see human fish, but they're all in the color of ocean," Pirasteh said. 

The piece is located on a busy corner of La Jolla, just steps from Muirlands Middle School.

"They give me awesome, cool, thumbs up," Pirasteh said.

The city issued this statement to 10News on the piece, which says the piece is not allowed to be on the property between the sidewalk and the house:

"A Civil Penalty Notice and Order (Notice) was issued on March 8, 2016 for an unpermitted accessory structure constructed in the front yard.  The residential development regulations prohibit structures (as defined in the San Diego Municipal Code) to be constructed within the front yard setback area. The Notice requires the removal of the structure from the front yard by May 7, 2016."