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Dr. Rich
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street

Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.

Q: My neighbors and I are very curious about the big yellowish box sitting in the middle of the vacant lot in front of the Les Artistes motel. Can you tell us what it is and what it is doing there? – a.c.

Photo illustration Art Olson  Click on image to enlarge.

A number of alert readers have called about that “box,” as you call it. As usual, we have conducted a thorough investigation. First, let’s deal with what it is NOT.

Contrary to what many readers have suggested, it is NOT the latest addition to Les Artistes’ carefully themed but sometimes quirky stable of rooms. Actually, it’s not even on the Les Artistes property. The lot between Les Artistes and Camino del Mar is actually owned by some mysterious entity that the City has had trouble locating. The City is very frustrated because they can’t figure out how to tax it. It does not appear to be occupied so the TOT (“Transient Occupancy Tax”) can’t be applied. Also since it is on private property they can’t write it a parking ticket. As you can understand, if the City can’t make a buck off it they would like to have it removed.

Another thing that the “box” is NOT is a Dempsey Dumpster. You know – one of those metal bins with a lid that you can lift up to discard things that you no longer want, like the seminal issue of Trivial Pursuit that is age appropriate only for veterans of WWII, or a wrecked tricycle, or a careless little brat who keeps trashing his tricycle.

What the mysterious yellow box IS is a “container.” I know this even though someone has tried to conceal it by painting “rental storage” or something like it right there on the side, in 98-point Bodoni Bold. In case you don’t know, a container is a big box used to ship all sorts of things around the world. Didn’t you ever wonder how that Chinese ripoff of a Barbie doll made its way to the third aisle in your CVS?

Okay. I know all this information is not telling us what we really want to KNOW – namely what is IN that @#$%^&*! box. We know it must be incredibly valuable because it is the sole occupant of a prime parcel of commercial property on Del Mar’s main thoroughfare. That being the case, it seems to me that our Planning Commission and the Design Review Board should check it out. I mean – are the required setbacks being properly observed? Is there maybe a view obstruction problem? And how about the “village character” clause?

Of course if it contains explosive materials or toxic waste the City will need to have it taken away. That makes it imperative that we discover as soon as possible exactly what is in that box. If the owner can’t be contacted or is uncooperative, I can only suggest the following: a good man with an acetylene torch can probably cut through those padlocks in the proverbial New York Minute. And when he does, I hope he’ll give me a call. I need to know what is in it. No,worse – I HAVE to know! Curiosity is killing me.

So call me – PLEASE!


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