Updated Wednesday morning:
The Long Beach City Council "granted" the alcohol license, according to this link, but what they actually do is to reccomend or not reccomend that the ABC grant or deny the license. Third District City Councilman Gary DeLong was not in attendance and Patch will update later today on the vote. http://longbeach.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1145029&GUID=359D8097-B6AE-4AF3-AE6D-CF0EFA80E5FA&Options=&Search=
Parking and alcohol sales in Belmont Shore, one is in short supply, the other is five times the ABC's Census-driven limit--and that isn't all of the Shore's commercial area. And when are they not thorny issues?
California Shabu, which operates cook-your-own Asian food eateries in Orange County and Santa Monica, is seeking OK from Long Beach City Council tonight to sell beer and wine at what used to be O' My Sole shoe store between Legend's and Peet's Coffee.A call to the owner was not immediately returned but we await that comment.
Some residents have complained to the regional ABC director and a few protest letters were also sent or copied to Patch and Councilman Gary DeLong about what would be a 25th alcohol sales license in a Census District that allows 5. That number is for one of two U.S. Census Districts encompassing the Shore. Alcohol sales licenses can be resold or transferred, but it is usually a lot cheaper to apply for a new one. The state ABC licenses alcohol sales, and has a process that addresses issues that might justify approval or denial of a license.
Area ABC Director Vincent Craven explained this week that population determines the number of alcohol sales per Census tract but that there is a loophole that allows for more licenses should a "visiting" population increase a "need" or demand for economic development.
"But if the city does not approve a conditional use permit, then we wouldn't issue a license," Craven said Monday. "It's a political decision and the same council members who are saying that its out of their hands and the ABC's decision are the same ones who are calling us up, saying 'you need to approve that license.'"
Some residents are also concerned about further impacting a parking shortage that has prompted the Belmont Shore parking commission (funded by the city and public parking meter revenue) to pay for employees to take free transit district bus rides to their 2nd Street jobs.
Opponents to additional alcohol sales licenses in Belmont Shore point to a lack of Long Beach Police Department staff to adequately police a community with a growing crime rate. The police department said there's been a 60% increase in robbery in the first half of 2012 over 2011 for the Eastern quadrant of the city that includes the Shore, the Heights and sweeps East to include Marina Pacifica and PCH. And some residents who had garage burglaries last week expected to have an officer come out and take a crime report, but were told there was only staff to take a burglary report by phone.
Vincent Craven of the ABC's Long Beach-Lakewood office said this week that he has received protest calls from residents who tell Patch that other businesses are displeased that they were required to provide more parking than others. Patch has not spoken directly with those businesses.
Calculating parking in Belmont Shore is a cryptic and mysterious virtual calculus that could stymie any ordinary citizen. It is largely on paper and not real, and varies business to business, depending on when it became a building or business. But setting aside the math on parking, the city of Long Beach's Amy Bodek said Shabu Shabu has grandfathered parking based on the building existing prior to, it appears, city zoning rules on parking.
Gary DeLong's office submitted 11 conditions that he would want imposed on the business were the Council to approve the ABC license Tuesday night. Many of them involve standard noise abatement and keeping the business litter-free, but also restrict hours to 10 p.m. daily.
What resident Cynthia Brannon said she is incensed by is that the conditions reveal there was never any doubt of approval for "yet another alcohol license." Her protest letter to the ABC is a lot more descriptive about the negative impacts from drinkers that flood the Shore now from Thursday to Sunday, she asserts.
Patch will report further after the City Council meeting, which we cannot attend, so if you are there, please post in comments what you think happened.
All of that is to say that the Long Beach City Council will vote tonight on another restaurant, another alcohol license, and that will impact parking and crime to some degree.
What are your thoughts about that? Tell us in comments.