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La Jolla artist faces fine over sculpture

Posted: 5:46 PM, Jun 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-17 21:28:37-04

A La Jolla faces a hefty fine by the city of San Diego if he does not remove or relocate a large piece of art from the front of his home.

Nasser Pirasteh's front yard is filled with art, but nothing stands out quite like his nearly 10-foot-tall creation called "From In Out."

It's a sculpture you can go inside, and that's the problem. The city says this "art" is an unpermitted structure.

"This is not a structure. This is very clearly a sculpture," Pirasteh said.

Pirasteh was supposed to remove the structure last month, with fines starting to accrue. They could total up to $250,000, but Pirasteh instead requested an administrative hearing, which took place Friday.

Code Enforcement officers called it a structure and said it's too close to the sidewalk. They said they received two complaints before they started investigating.

Officers also said Pirasteh could keep the roughly 4-ton piece if he moved it a few feet away from the street and paid a discounted fine of $5,000, plus administrative costs.

Pirasteh did not agree to that deal.

"This is emotion," Pirasteh said. "This is not a code or this is not a cinder block building."

Hearing officer James Queenan called the situation complex and said he'd need an extra two weeks to make a decision. That's beyond the standard 10 days.

A spokesman for the city said it would follow the order, but would have no comment until it is issued.

Pirasteh said he's not done fighting.

"We will all be loser, if we lose this sculpture. Nobody wins, even city or I," he said.

For now, the sculpture -- or structure -- gets to stay right where Pirasteh built it.