PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING
APRIL 3, 2007
1.0 CALL TO ORDER
The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:08 p.m. by Chairman Haller at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.
Present: Commissioners John Gamboa, Bob Moore and Vice Chairman Randall Hamerly and Chairman Richard Haller
Absent: Commissioner R. Paul Scott (Note: arrived at 6:18 p.m.)
Staff Present:John Jaquess, Community Development Director
Lawrence A. Mainez, City Planner
Sean Kelleher, Assistant Planner
Linda McKeough, Administrative Secretary
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chairman Haller.
2.0 COMMUNITY INPUT
There was none.
3.0 CONSENT CALENDAR
3.1 Minutes of February 6, 2007, Regular Meeting.
Approved, as submitted.
3.2 Minutes of March 20, 2007, Regular Meeting.
A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa to approve the Consent Calendar (Minutes of February 6, and March 20, 2007), as submitted.
Motion carried on a 4 - 0 vote, with Commissioner Scott absent.
4.0 PUBLIC HEARINGS
4.1 CUP007-001 - The upgrade from Off-site sale and consumption of beer and wine (Type 20 State Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC)) to Off-site sale and consumption of beer, wine and distilled spirits (Type 21 State Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC)). J & J Market is located at 24901 East Fifth Street at the southeast corner of Tippecanoe Avenue and East Fifth Street. APN: 0279-141-72-0000. Representative: Antonio Henngjoo Park
Chairman Haller introduced the item and called for Staff's presentation.
Assistant Planner Kelleher gave the presentation from the Staff Report. He explained the ABC Application upgrade, the existing hours of operation, the Census Tract information and how ABC is established based on the ratio of the 2000 Population Census, the Type 20 ABC License is established and what is proposed is an alteration to a Type 21 License. He further explained the Crime Reporting District Rate and undue concentration, calls for service with the Highland Police Department and crank calls on the nearby pay telephone. Assistant Planner Kelleher explained the proposed Conditions of Approval (COAs) and the Floor Plan to the Commission and indicated this is not just a liquor store, but it is a general market store. He further explained the Findings of Fact to the Commission and stated the Applicant is in the audience, then concluded his presentation.
Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had any questions of Staff.
Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the proposed square footage for all of the beer, wine and distilled spirits to be stored and Staff responded 251 square feet. The trash enclosure's relocation was also discussed.
A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the thresholds / parameters of public convenience and necessity for the Project. Staff explained based on what the Applicant provides in addition to liquor sales i.e. selling eggs, milk, toilet paper, etc. as a matter of convenience.
Another question was asked regarding if the Applicant is expanding store area (for the liquor) and reducing the affected area (for other food and small items) for the Market. Staff responded affirmatively in the Applicant is reducing the area (for food and other items) and the Applicant's wine display area is unused.
Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the previous two (2) Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) and ABC Licenses and what action was taken by the Commission. Staff responded Sushi Mac CUP was approved approximately six (6) months ago and the Airport Market CUP was denied.
(Note: Commissioner Scott arrived at 6:18 p.m.)
Staff further explained the same Census Tract was used for the proposed CUP as was utilized for the Airport Market CUP.
Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had any further questions of Staff. Hearing none, he then opened the Public Hearing and asked if the Applicant would like to make a presentation.
Mr. Antonio Henngjoo Park, 24901 East Fifth Street, San Bernardino, California, (within Highland City limits), who is the Applicant, addressed the Commission. He stated he wants to upgrade his ABC License from Type 20 to Type 21 and has been opened for business there at his location since October, 1995. He indicated he likes the area and wants to provide a better service to the community i.e. coffee in the morning, etc., and was requested from his neighbors to apply for a Type 21 License.
A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the State law, and if the Applicant anticipates any crime increase from the increased sales of distilled spirits. Mr. Park responded with his hours of operation being 9:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. which is the same hours as the Market opened for business. With him closing the Store early, there has been no problems in the past. There are elderly people, as well as long time residents who reside in the area and indicated that is why he has been in business there for so long. Mr. Park then read a portion of his letter (which is already part of the Staff Report) to the Commission regarding about the business' future.
Discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Park and Staff regarding the Applicant's letter also stated his intent of providing service(s) including a facsimile machine and money orders / money gram service to the community which would be independent of the liquor sales. Mr. Park stated his beer and wine business is more profitable for him and he also has invested in equipment / machines to offer a better business service for the community. In regards to the future, Mr. Park reiterated he was requested to provide a service and he is doing it and gave an example if a customer came into his Store to buy tequila and Mr. Park did not have the tequila for sale in his Store, the customer would go to another market that does sell tequila (and would lose that sale).
Concerns were raised by a Commissioner regarding the size of the sales area, and the comparison to Stater Brothers. Questions were also raised on the existing crime rate and concerns with the Application and if the Findings of Fact are appropriate. The Commission wants to ensure a quality decision is made, and be beneficial for the City of Highland. Questions were asked regarding what benefits would be made. It would add revenue to the Applicant and provide services to the public and want to do positive determinations.
Other comments / concerns were raised by another Commissioner regarding how the Applicant appears already providing / making / supply and demand with the fax machine(s), money orders, etc. and is "disconnected" with the distilled spirits and feels the distilled spirits will be taking up added shelf space for market products. The floor area argument is stronger and is unclear in making a Finding.
Mr. Park responded the space in the back side is empty and relocating to place table in front side. The Plan for the empty area and the front would be used for wine sales. It is currently not used. With regards to the Highland Police and crime activity - there is not a great amount of crime - an ambulance has been called or people arguing and stated it was not because of liquor and liquor is not a problem.
There being no further discussion or questions of the Applicant or Staff, Chairman Haller then asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item. Hearing none, and there being no further comments or testimony, Chairman Haller opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.
The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) does not see anything different from other Applications from Type 20 to Type 21 License, but there is a radical difference from any other in the same Census Tract; 2) the CUP Application in the Census Tract was denied (Airport Market) and that site was different, but this location is not that far from the Airport Market; 3) Sixth Street Liquor located on Sixth Street west of Del Rosa is within the Census Tract; 4) the north side of Sixth Street is outside of the Census Tract; 5) the Applicant is already selling beer and wine and there are no statistics indicating crime will increase; 6) clients have requested the distilled spirits; 7) the Applicant closes his Market early at 8:30 p.m. and believes people would not come in late and inebriated; 8) appears to be "splitting hairs" between beer, wine and distilled spirits; 9) as a business man, can understand more of a public convenience if people do not have vehicles; 10) the Applicant will increase his revenue as a business; 11) does not see the increase of crime due to the Applicant adding / selling distilled spirits along with the beer and wine; 12) there had been a clean up of the houses located on the south side of Fifth Street and how the area looks now; 13) this is a predicament - will not increase crime, but there is no basis for it either way - increase or decrease; 14) based on the Staff Report, will not increase the crime issues; 15) the State law writing a Finding Convenience of Necessity may be exemplary and there is over saturation
rate of 2 to 1 with Census Tract and is having a hard time with this issue; 16) the Applicant provides a need to be met or is undeserved (isolate crime or not); 17) the Type 21 License at face value how is Staff Report is written; 18) does not matter if the community is high or low density, if the clients do not have vehicles and they want to "party", and; 19) there are nine (9) other locations (selling liquor) within walking distance, but there is a matter of convenience.
Staff responded the last CUP (Airport Market) was denied and that store was smaller. The Applicant has been Conditioned and the current hours of operation is that he opens / closes early, but is at the discretion of the Commission. Staff reiterated the Applicant is already closing early, but if the Commission wants to change the hours of operation, Staff will Condition the Applicant and if the Commission desires, return to the Commission in six (6) months for further evaluation after the ABC License is issued. In regards to the distance requirements for the stores, ten percent (10%) is low for the stores and Stater Brothers is a large section. Staff added in regards to the number of sales used, the Stater Brothers floor area is one percent (1%) saleable area and is a one (1) acre store. Staff further explained how people can also take the bus and can add an additional COA if the Commission desires (regarding a six  month review).
The Commission responded there are three (3) convenience stores, including the Applicant's Store. Staff asked the Commission if Staff could conduct additional research and provide the Commission with the added information. The Commission responded regarding there may be an issue with the crime element and suggested to add an additional COA for periodic review by the Commission may help.
Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the Findings of Fact and the Convenience of Necessity issue, as well as the potential crime element. Staff stated the feasibility of additional information about Police Department data relative to beer / wine versus the hard liquor effect with a convenience market relative to a bar or liquor store and crank telephone calls made at the telephone booth. Staff added could have the Police Chief here in the future to discuss the crank calls and the need to break / separate the data down relative to the beer / wine / spirits. The Commission responded if data exists, that would be beneficial comparative to other liquor stores, convenience markets, for public information with the types of calls for service as Aysar Helo's project. Staff asked for two (2) weeks in order to obtain and provide the information. The Commission added for the additional Convenience of Necessity, data needs what percentage of patrons is for convenience / necessity and what percentage of the Census Tract; is it 1/4 mile or ½ mile in order to frequent the Market. The neighborhood says yes, the Market is a convenience market. Staff added the Applicant can obtain feedback with his customers possibly by a survey. Also obtain feedback with the percentage
of telephone hang ups / crank calls requesting the crime issue be addressed along with the Census Tract issue. A Commissioner asked the Applicant if he is willing to conduct a survey of his customers showing interested in adding distilled spirits sales and the Convenience of Necessity and if he would be willing to work with Staff with the survey. Mr Park responded affirmatively.
A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the feasibility of deferring Commission's action tonight to a date specific in order to conduct the survey, obtain the crime statistics between beer / wine and beer / wine / distilled spirits. Staff responded concerning setting a precedence and survey and with the over concentration and formula that is used for determining the concentration of ABC Licenses. It is the discretion of the Commission, and if need be, Code Enforcement could be utilized and added Staff is unsure with how far to go with the survey (i.e. if ten [10} positive survey responses would suffice, or 20, 25, or 50). The Commission responded the survey is unscientific and is inclined to support the Application which is unique. The Applicant is located between San Bernardino and Highland areas, as well as the Airport area and with legacy effects; is not typical and not ask the survey as a typical business. Staff stated the Store had been grandfathered in.
Comments were made by Commissioners included the following: 1) the layout of the Store and San Bernardino International Airport (former Norton A.F.B. there is no outside distilled spirits sales and as the Airport develops, by default is a concentrated area; 2) still struggling on the Finding of Convenience and Necessity; 3) as a Convenience Store, the Applicant is upgrading from a Type 20 License to a Type 21License without floor area in order to provide services and as a need to his patrons; 4) still the Convenience Store needs to be converted and not be just a store with distilled spirits and how the Applicant needs to upgrade (the License) in order to meet the needs; 5) regarding the Map, wants to know the distance between the liquor stores on Third Street, on Fifth Street - is it a ½ mile? 1,000 feet? needs to provide a scale for location(s) and be scaled off; 6) there are other outlying stores and the Applicant's Store is located in the middle; 7) the Base (former Norton A.F.B.) housing is gone and Norton is gone and reiterated the concentration is by default; 8) the "distinguishability" between Type 20 and Type 21 Licenses and the population / Census Tracts, and; 9) the formula / equation of how the Census Tract is formulated and allocation. Staff responded to ask the Applicant to provide the percentage of sales in the past for beer and wine and that the square footage of the floor area is minor. The Census Tract is a parcel-based map with GIS radius circles and this particular Census Tract is an odder shape than the others; most other Census Tracts are square. Staff had scaled off the Map and the result were Ellis Liquor is approximately 1,200 feet; A&S Market is approximately 2,800 feet and Shoprite 2 Market is approximately 1,800 feet.
Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the differentiation and allocation within the Census Tract of the Type 20 and 21 Licenses and how the State law reads, as well as the Finding of Convenience and Necessity is relative to the State law.
Chairman Haller stated this could be two (2) courses of action that could be rendered tonight: 1) either take action on what is proposed tonight, or; 2) he recapped there are three (3) data items for on the list; crime statistics, the percentage of sales of beer / wine versus other products sold at the Market, and the survey. Vice Chairman Hamerly then withdrew the survey concept. Staff added about the data separation between the beer / wine and the other products sold at the Market, in general.
Chairman Haller asked what is the consensus of the Commission.
The following are comments from the Commissioners: 1) the feasibility of continuing the Application for thirty (30) days, and; 2) will the added data affect the Commissioners' vote. Commissioner Gamboa said the added data would not affect his vote because of the Applicant's hours of operation. Commissioner Moore stated if the Applicant wants to sell beer / wine / distilled spirits in the hours of operation the Applicant has is acceptable to him. Commissioner Scott agreed with both Commissioners Gamboa and Moore and stated if more time is needed for Staff to prepare the data, he is still able to render a confident decision (tonight). Chairman Haller is unsupportive of the Finding of Convenience and Necessity and indicated it appears the Commission has decided. Commissioner Gamboa was concerned with the over saturation, but the Applicant is saved by grace with the hours of operation.
Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the addition of Planning COA with a six month's review of the Application. Additional discussion was ensued regarding the additional data. Staff again responded if the Applicant does not comply with the COAs, then Code Enforcement will come into play for the Applicant's compliance.
Chairman Haller asked what is the consensus of the Commission for the added COA. The Commission responded to add Planning COA No. 12 for a six month review, then twelve months, at the Commission's discretion. Staff responded at six months, after the ABC License then the Commission can determine if an annual review is needed for evaluation to include / report the types of calls for service. The Commission added the cost sales percentage and evaluate the percentage of sales of beer / wine / distilled spirits versus what other products sold at the Market.
There being no further questions of the Applicant or Staff, or discussion amongst the Commissioners, Chairman Haller then called for the question.
A motion was made by Commissioner Gamboa and seconded by Commissioner Scott to:
1. Approve Resolution Number 07-003 adopting Conditional Use Permit 007-001 and associated Findings of Fact to permit the upgrade of off-site sale and consumption of beer and wine (Type 20 ABC License) to an off-site sale and consumption of beer, wine and distilled spirits (Type 21 ABC License) for an existing neighborhood convenience market located at 24091 East Fifth Street, as modified with the following:
12. This Application shall be reviewed by the Highland Planning Commission six (6) months after Alcohol Beverage Control has issued the Type 21 License. The Planning Commission, at that time, shall review this Conditional Use Permit (CUP-007-001) in regards to the number of Police Department calls for service at the Site during that six (6) month time period and the percentage of the business sales associated with alcohol. The Planning Commission may determine at that Public Hearing the need for additional periodic review periods.
2. Direct Staff to file a Notice of Exemption with the County Clerk of the Board.
Motion carried on a 3 - 2 vote with Vice Chairman Hamerly and Chairman Haller dissenting.
There were no items.
Staff explained the items tentatively scheduled for the April 17, and May 1, 2007, Commission Meetings.
There being no further business Chairman Haller declared the meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Linda McKeough, Richard Haller, Chairman
Administrative Secretary Planning Commission
City of Highland