Autopsy service takes heat over zoning violation

Was city justified in revoking building permit?

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Autopsy/Post Services Inc. (APS) purchased a building in a commercial zone where at least 70 percent of the first floor area must be used for retail stores, restaurants or offices. Shortly after buying the building, APS obtained a city building permit to remodel the building for a "medical laboratory." But when owner Vidal Herrera later applied for a city permit for an exterior sign showing the name of his business "1-800-AUTOPSY," the city informed Herrera his application was rejected. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. City officials then discovered the real purpose of the building permit was for a business that intended to perform autopsies at the site. Upon the revocation of the APS building permit, Herrera claimed he had a vested right to that permit and it could not be revoked. At a hearing of the city's Building and Safety Commission, the commissioners affirmed the building permit revocation based on a misleading permit application. Herrera then sued the city to have his bu...