Monday, April 19, 2010
Olympic Cafe's Small Chances of 3 AM Appeal
Post and bottom photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Top image from Twin Cities Metromix.
Let's face it. Some businesses should not stay open until 3 a.m. (warning, link contains strong language). When the Olympic Cafe applied for a variance to stay open this late, they were rightly denied. The owners appealed that decision, and the appeal was postponed one cycle.
The hearing is now scheduled for Thursday, April 22nd, 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. People are strongly encouraged to contact their city council representatives and tell them emphatically that the last thing the embattled Hawthorn (sic) Crossings needs is an influx of traffic at three in the morning. Even the Pope has weighed in on this issue.
All kidding aside, there are legitimate REASONS why the request was denied in the first place. For instance...
...click here for the original denial. I'll hit the high points though.
"The business has previously been issued citations for operating beyond the hours allowed under the C1 district regulations; thus the application to legally extend the hours of operation. Planning Staff has consulted with the applicable Police Precinct which does not support any extension of hours on the premises beyond what is allowed under the C1 district regulations." (emphasis mine)
"After consulting with the applicable Police Precinct, Planning Staff does believe that allowing extended hours of operation in this location could potentially be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, comfort and/or general welfare...the Police Department is concerned that extending the business hours would merely exacerbate the problems that exist in the area including loitering."
"The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development - Planning Division recommends that the City Planning Commission adopt the findings above and deny the conditional use permit to allow the existing restaurant to operate until 3 a.m. daily for the property located at 923 West Broadway (921 West Broadway)." (Emphasis contained in original quote)
If you go down to page 12 of this document, you'll see the response from the Olympic Cafe's representative. He gets shot down pretty impressively by the committee. His basic response is that, oh there isn't much of an issue with police calls to the business, so they don't have security. But goshdarnit, they'll hire some as soon as they expand their hours.
Oh, and as far as being cited twice already for operating beyond regular business hours, they're now saying they want to come into compliance. I've never run a business before, but it doesn't seem so hard to actually remember when your license allows you to be open and operate within those hours.
It should be noted that although the staff report says no word has come from the neighborhood councils, Hawthorne staff did invite the business owners or representatives to come to a community meeting in Hawthorne to discuss this. No one ever took up the neighborhood on that invitation, so the topic never came up at a meeting for HNC to decide one way or another.
Commissioner Gorecki made a motion to deny Olympic's request, saying, "I think there is enough evidence here, especially when I read the West Broadway email to us that really clearly points out that there has been a long term problem with this business. Its lack of attention to what’s happening not only with its business but with its surrounding impact on the community."
Commissioner Leupke-Pier seconded the motion, saying, "I live five blocks away from there so I’ve experienced this business and I used to live two blocks away from there prior to that so over a decade of living near that business which wasn’t there the whole decade, but only the last few years. I do want to say that littering has been a problem, loitering has been a problem. I know you said your client is doing what he can but apparently it’s not enough. You can say that people are outside and it’s not your problem, but if you run a business it is your problem. It’s consistently been a problem. Reading the West Broadway Business Association’s letter about how they tried to reach out and tried to engage your client to make this roblem go away or alleviate it, it seems as though your client isn’t really interested in making the effort to do the same."
The motion carried, 8-0. I predict the appeal will also be unanimously denied.