On Tuesday night, Hermosa Beach City Council approved Jed Sanford’s request for extended hours for his new project in the space that Cafe Boogaloo previously inhabited. The measure overturned the Planning Commission’s denial of an amended Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
The CUP of the Boogaloo space at 1238 Hermosa Avenue was modified by the City Council in March of this year, reducing the daily closing time from 2:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, after hearings addressed a myriad of misuse issues.
Cafe Boogaloo chose to close rather than operate under the new restrictions and Sanford purchased the property. When he requested Thursday, Friday and Saturday night hours extended until 1 a.m. the Planning Commission denied the request, citing the “No Intensification of Late Night On-Sale Alcoholic Beverage Establishments” amendment to the Municipal Code.
Sanford and his partner and brother Allen approached the council on Tuesday with a modified request, agreeing to close the new restaurant at 11 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, at midnight on Wednesday, 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, thus reducing the cumulative number of late night hours while still allowing for later nights on the weekend.
“After the Planning Commission denied our request, I looked at the ‘no intensification code,’” Sanford told the council. “And I thought that if i can embody the spirit of the code and its mechanism and reduce the total late-night hours, I could be operationally hitting what I need to but also stay within the spirit of the code.”
City council candidate Nanette Barragan spoke out against the proposal saying that, “The later you play music and dance, the more drinking.”
Sanford has slated the space as largely a restaurant, with only a small stage meant for entertainment mostly during private parties.
“This project, like all of ours, will be heavily food-focused,” Sanford said. “It will be a bit more relaxed than Little Sister. It’s going to be very much community centered; very Hermosa and very SoCal.”
Sanford said that he’d be announcing the restaurant’s concept within the next month or so, and that it is set to open in the early part of 2014.
A number of community members spoke out in favor of Sanfords at the council meeting, citing their successes with Abigaile and Rockefeller. As resident Stacey Armato said, “These men know what their doing and I think we should give them a chance.”
“These two gentlemen, besides our council, have done more to turn around what nightlife is in this town than anybody else,” Mayor Pro Tem Michael DiVirgilio said during the discussion. “The fact of the matter is I don’t care when it closes as long as it operates like Abigaile’s does, or Rockefeller does. Or even Palmilla does, which I believe can stay open until 1:30. This is actually lower, every single night, than what Measure B is asking for. So if Measure B is an extreme threshold, why would we say to some of the most responsible operators in town that they don’t deserve these hours? I think it’s a slam dunk and frankly, gentlemen, thank you for helping us achieve in the community what we know this community wants.”
The council approved the request 4-1, with council member Peter Tucker dissenting.
“These things always morph into something different,” Tucker said. “I won’t be able to support the motion. There again we are backtracking on hours. I think it’s really disappointing.”