MINUTES

PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING

NOVEMBER 4, 2008

 

 

 

1.0       CALL TO ORDER

 

The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:10p.m. by Interim Chairman Hamerly at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.

 

Present:          Commissioners Bob Moore, Michael Willhite, Interim Commissioner Sam Racadio, Vice Chairman John Gamboa and Interim Chairman Randall Hamerly

 

Absent:           None

 

Staff Present:John Jaquess, Community Development Director

Lawrence Mainez, City Planner

Sean Kelleher, Assistant Planner  

Linda McKeough, Administrative Assistant III

 

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Interim Chairman Hamerly.

 

 

 

2.0       COMMUNITY INPUT

 

There was none.

 

 

 

3.0       CONSENT CALENDAR

 

3.1       Minutes of October 7, 2008, Regular Meeting.     

 

Approved, as amended.

 

On Page 5, Third Paragraph, Fourth Sentence was amended to read as follows:  AMr. Warren responded people walk to the Bar and when they park in the Alley, he asks them to move their vehicles along.@

 

On Page 8, Third Paragraph, Fourth Sentence was amended to read as follows:  There is no smoking in front of the Bar and also with the neighbors smoking across the street (on Palm Avenue) and how the people may place ash trays out there.@

 

3.2       Minutes of October 21, 2008, Regular Meeting.  

 

Approved, as submitted.

 

 

A Motion was made by Interim Commissioner Racadio and seconded by Vice Chairman Gamboa to approve the Minutes of October 7, 2008, as amended, and October 21, 2008, as submitted. 

 

 

Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.

 

 

 

4.0       PUBLIC HEARINGS          

 

4.1       CUP008-009 - The establishment of On-site Sale and Consumption of Beer and Wine for AThai Spoon" Restaurant [Type 41 State Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC)].  The Project is located within the Palm Plaza located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Palm Avenue and Cypress Street.  The address is 7750 Palm Avenue, Suite H.  APN: 1192-581-51, 1192-601-03.  Representative:  Pate Saseung.

 

Interim Chairman Hamerly introduced the Item and call for Staff=s presentation.

 

Assistant Planner Kelleher gave the presentation from the Staff Report which included the historical background, location and the hours of operation of the Restaurant, the proposal exceeds the ABC=s recommended six (6) Licenses by adding a seventh (7th) and how forty-four percent (44%) of the calls for service are within this Census Tract.  He then explained how the Planning Commission will need to make a determination on a Finding of Public Convenience and Necessity if the Restaurant is to provide beer and wine to compliment the meals of their Thai food cuisine.  Assistant Planner Kelleher then concluded his presentation and stated the Applicant is not in the audience. 

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner about the forty-four percent (44%) of the calls for service are within this Census Tract is correct and Staff responded affirmatively.

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner how many Census Tracts are within the City.  Staff responded there are sixteen (16) Tracts, but some of them go beyond the City limits.  Staff added the Restaurant is located within the core of the commercial area of the City.  The Commissioner responded, yes, but half of the calls for service and then asked about the calls for service on Elm Street.  Staff responded Elm Street is not located within this Census Tract.  Staff responded and explained the boundaries for the Census Tract to the Commission.

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the number of ABC Licenses are correlated to the ratio of population and further explained the Finding of Convenience and Necessity, how the bars are different in the crowd and he caters to versus restaurants serving meals.  Issues for the Restaurant, as well as the type of Restaurants and their locations within the Census Tract were also discussed.  A comment was made by a Commissioner how the Applicant was very thorough in his letter. 

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the City received any opposition for this Application and Staff responded not for this Application. 

 

There being no further questions to Staff, Interim Chairman Hamerly opened the Public Hearing and asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.  Hearing none, he left the Public Hearing open and then opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.

 

The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) concerns were raised regarding the amount of saturation and the number of calls for service within said Census Tract, and; 2) a question was asked by a Commissioner if it was if the Applicant is proposing to sell beer and wine outright, or only with food service.  The  Commissioner responded the sale of food is not the issue, it is the saturation of alcohol licenses.

 

The following are further comments made by the Commissioners: 1) on Page 5 of the Staff Report it states according to the Highland Police Department, the calls for service are not related to restaurants, just residential calls for service; 2) concerns/ reservations were raised regarding the Town Center with a Restaurant establishment providing alcoholic beverages within a high concentration area, and; 3) there is no Floor Plan with the proposed Application. 

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the definition between fine dining versus a restaurant with a bar and asked Staff if the Restaurant is a bar or if the alcoholic beverages be served with meals.  Staff responded how bars are distinguished from eating establishments and if a restaurant has a bar, then the restaurant also needs a Bar License and the only way for a restaurant patron to receive an alcoholic beverage is to purchase a meal. 

 

Another question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the Town Center having eating establishments serving alcoholic beverages would the Commission also have to make a Finding of Convenience and Necessity with them.  Another Commissioner added that (Census Tract) would also include the Golden Triangle Policy Area (on Greenspot Road) and how the Mission Development project is talking of restaurants going in on their property (north side of Greenspot Road).  A Commissioner responded how the Census Tract is based on population and the ABC=s rationale, and consider what type the proposed eating establishment is would then determine the proposed Finding of Convenience and Necessity.  Staff added how the ABC Bill was written into law and its intention.  Staff then provided a brief historical background how ABC had to deal with the number of liquor stores in East Los Angeles and that the bill was meant to promote supermarkets.  A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the number of restaurants located on Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino and how the saturation must be way over the number allowed within its Census Tract.   A comment was made by a Commissioner there is a challenge for the Restaurant to stay open in these economic times and if alcohol helps keep the Restaurant going and wants to see the Restaurant be competitive with other eating establishments.  Another comment was made by a Commissioner in that there are two (2) Applications tonight that are both Thai Restaurants and it would be bad to single one out and not the other and a Commissioner responded how the Findings will be similar.

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner why the Applicant / Property Owner is not in attendance.  Staff responded the Applicant does not speak English.

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner how long the Restaurant has been open and Staff responded less than six (6) months.  A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding if the Mexican Restaurant (JP=s Villa Restaurant located in the Palm Plaza) in front of the Applicant=s Restaurant serves beer and wine and Staff responded affirmatively and is also listed in the Staff Report. 

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the three hundred foot (300') radius notification and procedures for that, how there is existing single family homes to the east and west and potential single family homes to the north of the Restaurant. 

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner about future ABC License references and asked about the over concentration and if the Commission would be unable to make the Finding of Convenience and Necessity.  There are six (6) ABC Applications currently and assume there will be some eating establishments which will want alcoholic beverages served located in the Golden Triangle Policy Area and possibly have another six (6) Applications and at what point, does the Commission stop.  Staff responded how the ABC laws do not take away the City=s land use authority.


 

The over concentration ratio, calls for service and how the Commission makes the determination and further explained the Table on Page 3 of the Staff Report which are Bars, Restaurants, and what the Commission=s current Policy is.  The Applicant=s Restaurant is a sit-down, family-oriented Restaurant and has no bar.

 

A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the Census Tract=s locations and how the Rotten Oak is located east of Palm Avenue and there are seven (7) approved west of Palm Avenue making this Census Tract have thirty-five percent to forty percent (35% - 40%) of those eating establishments have liquor licenses.  Staff responded with the 2010 Census coming up, the boundaries may be revised and reiterated the Applicant=s Restaurants is a family-oriented, sit down Restaurant and Staff needs a clear message from the Commission regarding policy.

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the Census Tract and the locations of the establishments in said Tract.  Staff stated how the Census Tracts may be spread out in districts and Palm Plaza has one and other opportunities will be in the future.  If Staff needs to evaluate the Restaurant(s) more critically, Staff needs to know tonight from the Commission.  Staff further indicated the area is over concentrated by one (1).  The Mission Development project located in the Golden Triangle Policy Area (on the north side of Greenspot Road) will be listed in a Development Agreement in which the Commission will consider some time at a future Meeting. 

 

A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the AF@ and AG@ establishments listed on the Census Tract Map in the Staff Report need to be reversed and then a question was asked about the concentration factors.   

 

Staff explained how the Highland Police noted the crime was in the residential area and limited in this Restaurant and how the crime statistics are reviewed for the past year and no comments were received.  Staff added the calls for service and not for crime statistics and is unwise to assume / equate to crime and will need additional information.  A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the gross number of calls for service versus the net number of calls for crime and Staff responded it could be and maybe (the Highland Police) did not want to say it is a crime.

 

There being no further discussion or questions of Staff, or discussion amongst the Commissioners, Interim Chairman Hamerly closed the Public Hearing and called for the question.

 

 

A Motion was made by Commissioner Willhite and seconded by Commissioner Moore to:

 

1.         Direct Staff to File a Notice of Exemption with San Bernardino County Clerk of the Board, and;

 

2.         Adopt Resolution 08-023 approving Conditional Use Permit 008-009, all subject to the recommended Conditions of Approval, and the Findings of Fact.

 

 

Motion unanimously carried on a 3 - 2 vote with Interim Commissioner Racadio and Vice Chairman Gamboa dissenting.

 

The following are comments / directives from the Commission: 1) place Types 41, 42 and 48 ABC Licenses into a higher threshold; 2) the Census Tracts deviate from the store, convenience market, liquor store, etc. and trying to take the City into a positive light and be more lenient with restaurants, and; 3) there is a higher concentration of liquor stores. 

 

 

 

4.2       CUP008-010 - The establishment of On-Site Sale and Consumption of Beer and Wine for AOrchid Thai" Restaurant (Type 41 State Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control [ABC]).  The Project is located at 27266 Base Line, within the Shopping Center located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Base Line and Reedy Avenue.  APN:  1191-501-06.  Representative:  Jamfar Knouse.

 

 

(Note: Prior to the Meeting, Staff distributed a letter from Ms. Maria Orozco, dated October 31, 2008, to the Commission.)

 

 

Interim Chairman Hamerly introduced the Item and call for Staff=s presentation.

 

Assistant Planner Kelleher noted there was a typographical error on Page 16 of the Staff Report in that under Subsection AG@ replace AThai Spoon@ with AOrchid Thai@ and the he proceeded to give the presentation from the Staff Report.  He explained the historical background, location and the hours of operation of the Restaurant, the Census Tract statistics.  He then explained how the Planning Commission will also need to make a determination on a Finding of Public Convenience and Necessity if the Restaurant is to provide beer and wine to compliment the meals of their Thai food cuisine.  He further indicated how twenty-three percent (23%) of the calls for service are within this Census Tract.

 

A comment was made by a Commissioner in that is only one-half of the calls for service.

 

Assistant Planner Kelleher then concluded his presentation and stated the Applicant=s Representative is in the audience. 

 

There being no further questions to Staff, Interim Chairman Hamerly asked if the Applicant would like to make a presentation. 

 

Ms. Shirley Knouse, 27266 Base Line, Highland, California, who is the Applicant=s daughter, addressed the Commission.  She stated this is a family-run business and had expanded the Restaurant in 2006.  The customers are professionals, family-oriented and there is no intention of expanding the hours of operation and will refuse service.  She indicated there is one letter in opposition to the Project.  Ms. Knouse explained this is a family, sit-down Restaurant and is struggling and providing beer and wine with their cuisine will help the Restaurant to stay open.

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the beer and wine will be consumed with the purchase of meals and Ms. Knouse responded affirmatively.

 

 

A question as asked by a Commissioner regarding with an ABC License, what percentage of the gross receipts would be acquired with the alcohol.  Ms. Knouse responded that she was unsure and guessed possibly $300 - $400 and reiterated she was unsure and that her Mother would be able to provide a better response.  Another question was asked by a Commissioner if the beer would be a higher percentage than the wine and Ms. Knouse responded affirmatively and added they have been there at the location since 2006 and provided historical background of the Restaurant.  They have thirteen (13) tables and usually will get quiet around 8:30 pm - 9:00 pm during the week and 9:30pm - 10:00pm on the weekends.

 

A question was asked by a Commissioner if she had read the Staff Report and Conditions of Approval and Ms. Knouse responded affirmatively and added it is her understanding she would have to go to the State then for ABC approval. 

 

Staff added the City received one letter in opposition today for the Project and explained the person=s concerns of the Applicant providing alcohol.

 

The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) the threshold for the Census Tract is under; 2) the reported calls for service appears to be acceptable, and; 3) there is not an over concentration and the service for calls is down.

 

There being no discussion or questions of the Applicant or Staff, Interim Chairman Hamerly then asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.  Hearing none, and there being no further discussion amongst the Commissioners, he then closed the Public Hearing and called for the question.

 

 

A Motion was made by Commissioner Willhite and seconded by Commissioner Moore to:

 

1.         Direct Staff to File a Notice of Exemption with San Bernardino County Clerk of the Board, and;

 

2.         Adopt Resolution 08-024 approving Conditional Use Permit 008-010, as corrected, all subject to the recommended Conditions of Approval, and the Findings of Fact.

 

 

Motion carried on a 4 - 1 vote with Vice Chairman Gamboa dissenting.

 

 

 

5.0       LEGISLATIVE

 

There were no Items.

 

 

 

6.0       ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Staff explained there is no Regular Meeting of the Design Review Board or the Commission on November 18, 2008, but there will be a Joint DRB / PC Meeting at 6pm regarding a Staff presentation on Senate Bill 375 on green house gas reduction law.  A brief discussion ensued regarding the SB 375 on planning, transportation, housing, EIR and General Plan, etc. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding the status of the JMK Adult Bookstore (located on the south side of Fifth Street near Palm Avenue) and it returning to the DRB for further consideration. 

 

 

 

7.0       ADJOURN

 

 

There being no further business Interim Chairman Hamerly declared the meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m.

 

 

 

Submitted by:                                                            Approved by:

 

 

 

 

                                                                           ____________________________

Linda McKeough,                                                      Randall Hamerly, Interim Chairman

Administrative Assistant III                                       Planning Commission