In The News

City's Move Forces Club to Let Women in Deluxe Dining Lounge

By Matthew Hall, Staff Writer

Women will be allowed in a dining area at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club where they previously were barred, an attorney for the club said yesterday.

The San Diego City Council voted two weeks ago to declare the private club in default of its long-term lease with the city for a policy prohibiting female members and employees from a deluxe lounge near the men's locker room.

A city attorney's report from April 5 said the club was in violation of the nondiscrimination clause of its lease. The club was told to begin admitting women or face possible legal action from the city.

John Shiner, an attorney for the club, said letters explaining the open policy would be mailed to members by today.

Attorney Dan Lawton, who represents a former club member who filed a lawsuit against the club last year alleging discrimination, said his client, Maureen Pechacek-Howe, would continue her legal challenge.

“We will be very curious to see the reality of this promised fix as distinct from the paper promise of it,” Lawton said.

The club has leased about 200 acres of city land near the San Dieguito Lagoon since 1986, and added the dining room as part of a $5 million renovation completed last year.

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