Local News

Sidewalk Encroachment to be Removed

Fullerton City Council voted unanimously on August 16 to restore the public right-of-way (approximately 384 square feet) sidewalk along Commonwealth at 100 N. Harbor to public use.

A view of the encroachment taken in May 2022. Photo be Jesse La Tour

The City approved the encroachment in 2003 to allow Florentine’s Tuscany Club to extend its business onto approximately 384 square feet of public sidewalk and to pay a lease fee to the City.

The current property owner of 100 North Harbor Boulevard is Mario Marovic, who has made renovations at the location in preparation for the opening of two new bars.

Fullerton negotiated a Settlement Agreement with Marovic on how to restore the public-right-of-way. The general terms of the Settlement Agreement include:

-Marovic will pay all costs for design, materials, demolition, and restoration of the public right-of way.

-A detailed Schedule of Performance has been prepared with construction commencing no later than March 6, 2023 and completed no later than June 30, 2023.

-Marovic will provide a personal guarantee that the full costs would be met should any default in performance occur.

-City will waive building fees and plan check and inspection fees.

-Marovic will pay rent on the encroachment space monthly until removed.

26 replies »

  1. I CARE about the 15 year old pack of lies and shenanigans but assholes Dudley & Jones. While I am very pleased with the vote, I am very skeptical. We shall see.

  2. Let me start by saying I felt the bumpout should have never been allowed in the first place and it should not have been allowed to stay for so long. I also think that the City should have informed Marovic of the requirement for removal of the bumpout long before they did. He had to have submitted plans to the city for the remodel, which were presumably approved with the bumpout in place. Marovic should have been informed of the bumpout removal requirement at the time of initial plan submission *at the latest*. Doing it after plan approval and after money had been spent on remodeling the bumpout area was an example of bureaucracy at its worse. The city jacking around business and property owners who are spending big money to make improvements also serves to discourage renovations and investment. The city should be grateful to Marovic for the continuing improvements to the area, and hopefully learned something through this debacle and have made changes to ensure this sort of thing never happens again. The city’s handling of this is an example of why property and business owners are reluctant to invest in the city (which includes the vacant lots referenced by Phil M. above).

    • I agree with the difficult situation made more difficult by the City not even knowing or caring about the situation anymore. Still, Mr. Marovic must certainly have know where his property boundary was when he bought his building, and he must have known that the “bump-out” wasn’t included. The bump-out situation was serially recorded on blogs and in the Fullerton Observer so I suspect he did know about the history and decided to ride it out instead of telling the City to detach THEIR bump-out from his building and to restore the façade. That’s on him.

      • It’s hard to say what Marovic knew and what he didn’t know. Those who follow the Observer (maybe) as well as FFFF (definitely) know, but outside of that relatively small number of people, I’d bet people don’t know. I’d guess if the residents of the city were polled probably less than 20% would know about the bumpout controversy. Someone living in another city almost certainly wouldn’t know.

        Someone should look at the property sale agreement (if that’s even public record) to see if there was a disclosure about the bumpout in there, because if it wasn’t, it should have been, and if it wasn’t, then I’m pretty sure Marovic would not have been aware.

        Everyone here is just speculating about what Marovic did or didn’t know, but whatever….the issue has been resolved and I’m glad the bumpout is going away.

  3. For 19 years, the lease on that Florentine encroachment said two things that Mario ignored: one, that at any time the city could reclaim the public right-of-way at the owner’s expense, and two, that the lease was not transferable. Mario is an experienced businessman; the two restaurants in the former Florentine premises are numbers 21 and 22 for him. He did not apply for his own lease. He forged ahead with spending money on that encroachment with full knowledge that he had no lease and that the city could reclaim the public right of way at his expense. What…did he think that it would be easier to get forgiveness that permission? What a nerve! What arrogance! Now he is raising money for the Fox so we will all love him and forgive anything in the future. His donations to the Assistance League led to his asking them for a letter of support. Pipers will be paid.

    • YES. It’s not so much the space or the width of the sidewalk that is the issue; it’s the manner in which this whole rotten deal was done. So much backroom deal-making.

    • Judith, my guess is that Mr. Marovic figured he could ride it out, just like the Florentines when the initial heist was made.

  4. The City has the nerve to passionately focus on details like these, yet they won’t do anything to have empty business lots around the city limits be occupied by new business. Say hello to old Zakie Market/F&M Bank, old Newport Dental, and the former spot of Taqueria El Rancho (now occupies the former Dairy Queen spot). Three locales in my neck of town that need dire attention, so all the fentanyl bums who use these empty lots can eff off back to the barrios of Anaheim.

      • I do not know the guy personally, and probably you have not cared to read the entire context of my comment above. I feel the City Council’s focus on Downtown and city parks is over-adequate. What I want them to do is *do something* with abandoned properties in other parts of the town, especially in South Fullerton.

        I also remember something about the City of Fullerton collaborating with the County of Orange and a few other cities in the region to deal with the homeless crisis. However, I don’t see anything bearing any productive fruit. Have you seen the bums and hoodlums making the abandoned lots near Orangethorpe Elementary School their stomping grounds? The ramp-sides and under the overpasses of the 91 freeway have increasingly become homes to new fentanyl addicts. I think you have not been down here to care.

      • Phil M., of course I read your entire comment. It was such a diversion (look over here) to non-relevant issues that I assumed you must be a friend of Marovic. Sorry about that.

    • “Nice” is your opinion. The misappropriation of public property and the the 2 decade cover-up, and Marovic’s strategy to ignore these facts as he built without permits are facts. Sorry.

  5. Actually David, you care too much. You are strangely passionate about this side walk. Which is weird.
    Of all the people that walk that side walk every day (and especially on weekends) do you really think they say to themselves “darn I wish this side walk was wider, the city should force the owners of this building to chop this section off”. LOL

    • Thanks, but I’ll be the judge about the propriety of what I care about. This was a case of theft of public property, pure and simple. You care too little. Out.

  6. NO ONE CARES about the 383 feet of sidewalk. It’s still big enough to walk through. The city should have just let him pay rent on the 383 feet and called it a day.

    • You are wrong about nobody caring. If nobody cared that’s exactly what they would have done. When you shout “NO ONE CARES” you really just mean to say that YOU don’t care.

      • Actually David, you care too much. You are strangely passionate about this side walk. Which is weird.
        Of all the people that walk that side walk every day (and especially on weekends) do you really think they say to themselves “darn I wish this side walk was wider, the city should force the owners of this building to chop this section off”. LOL

  7. Why should Marovic have to pay rent? Why should he have to pay anything? He’s on the losing end of the stick here unless he was made aware at the time of the sale that section was on public property and would have to be removed. The onus is on the city imo.

    I moved to Fullerton in 2006 (moved in 2020). Can anyone confirm what the council voted for? Over the years, I was told on several occasions that it was for outside dining; permission to set up a few tables and chairs on the sidewalk on Commonwealth, nothing permanent. Also, can anyone confirm how each council member voted then?

    There were always agreements reached behind closed doors. Could this have happened to allow Florentine ? You don’t spend that kind of money on a remodel without authorization. How did he secure a permit to build on a public sidewalk?

    • Sherri, you ask a lot of really good questions. Perhaps YOU should be on the City Council.

      You are correct about Marovic not being responsible for the encroachment. But he also started remodeling the encroachment which he had no legal right to do.

      In 2002 the Council approved the outdoor dining permit that was accompanied by a plan for a slab and rail, as I recall. Then Florentine started building a completely different thing – an enclosed, structural add-on to the building – a building owned by the Condon family. The Director of Development Services, Paul Dudley approved what they did, even though he had NO authority to do so.

      There was controversy, of course, but the Council at the time chickened out – protecting both Dudley and the Florentine tribe. Later the lease was quietly modified to address the permanent structure. That shameful clean-up decision was made by Councilmembers Leland Wilson, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, Shawn Nelson, and Mike Clesceri. Jan Flory was in on the initial whitewash.

      Incredibly, the actual building owner was still out of the picture, meaning the lessee for the addition was different than the building owner. Sooner or later that crap was going to hit the fan, so long as citizens wanted their sidewalk back. They did.

      When Marovic bought the building from the Condons, a few years ago he inherited the Florentines as a tenant, but NOT the lease on the “pop-out.” When the Florentine crew bugged out in 2021 they dodged their legal responsibility to remove the “improvements,” meaning that the landlord (the City) assumed that liability in lieu of their tenant (Florentine). Marovic was under no obligation to do so.

      Marovic wanted to keep the add-on and I’m sure he was willing to pay rent. But that ship had sailed due to renewed public interest. In the meantime he unwisely started construction/remodeling work on the City-owned sidewalk portion – without permission. Sad Face.

      BTW, City staff and the City Attorney essentially lied to the Planning Commission last winter by insinuating that Marovic had miraculously assumed the Florentine leasehold – BEFORE he had even purchased the building!

      • Thanks for explaining it. No thanks on the council lol I asked a lot more questions standing in front of the dais.

  8. And so it ends. 20 years of a legalized, illegal occupation of public property. No one held accountable, no one bothering to ask how it happened and how the ramifications finally had to cleared up by Marovic – a guy who had zero responsibility for the embarrassment.

    Well, here are the culprits:

    F. Paul Dudley
    Gary Chapulsky
    Jim Armstrong
    Bob Hodson
    Leland Wilson
    Mike Clesceri
    Don Bankhead
    Dick Jones
    Shawn Nelson
    Jan Flory
    Sharon Quirk
    et alia

    The Other Dick Jones, allegedly a lawyer presided over the whole mess from Day 1 ’til now. Everyone bent over backwards to protect Dudley and the Florentines who built a permanent, enclosed structure on the sidewalk and called it a outdoor dining.

    I’ll believe the “pop-out is going when it is actually demolished.

    FYI – the encroachment is on Commonwealth, not Harbor. Was that really so confusing?