In our commentary on Blondies yesterday, we wrote, “If staff wanted to allow Blondies to open and operate as the council and community weighed in on what changes they wanted to see, then it stands to reason that they might have offered alternative language that would have been acceptable. But they didn’t go that route, and instead offered a legalese-encoded blanket denial that is likely to end up with a lawsuit and some sort of settlement down the line.”
However, we missed a short but critical section on page 9 of the staff report, “Options available to the City Council.”
Staff writes, “The Council may deny the request, or approve the request, with or without conditions. Staff recommends the request be denied, based upon the findings within this report. As an alternative, the City Council could explore whether there is a set of conditions under which some or all of the restaurant could be allowed to proceed through building permit, construction, and occupancy. Staff has suggested potential conditions including closing at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. and prohibition against entertainment uses. Thus far, these have not been acceptable to the applicant.”
The Vanguard strives for accuracy in both its reporting and its commentaries and apologizes for this error and oversight.
With this new information, we believe the potential conditions of closing at 10 or 11 pm, when Little Prague closed at 2 am, and prohibition against entertainment uses are non-starters. Therefore, despite the fact that city staff does specify alternatives, we stand by our conclusion.
Staff writes, “The conditional agreement proposed by the application reads ‘Blondies New York Pizza Company shall comply at the effective date with future City ordinance or regulations that are applicable to all restaurants with ABC 47 licenses in the City’s Commercial Zone and do not violate State or federal law; provided that all other restaurants with ABC 47 licenses in the CC Zone must comply within a year.’”
Staff then argues that it “does not believe that this conditional offer is sufficient to support an exemption from the moratorium. Staff also does not believe that this conditional offer would assure compliance with any new regulations adopted by the City.”
They continue, “Staff believes that this proposed agreement does not provide the City with the same authority the City would have if Blondies is not permitted to open until the City has determined what new zoning and operational regulations would apply to new nightclub uses and the moratorium is then dissolved.”
As we wrote, “If staff wanted to allow Blondies to open and operate as the council and community weighed in on what changes they wanted to see, then it stands to reason that they might have offered alternative language that would have been acceptable.”
As it turns out they offered potential conditions for acceptance, but not alternative language, that would have fixed Blondies’ conditional offer. Therefore, we stand by our conclusion, with the corrected information.
Click here to read the Sunday Commentary: Is Blondies a Political Football in This Discussion?
—David M. Greenwald reporting