Club Red Square appeared before the local Zoning Administrator in an effort to gain permission to serve alcohol on their patio and to complement the alcohol service with a DJ and amplified music on the patio.
Hearing Officer Albert Landini, took testimony on the application for 55 minutes before ruling that the case would remain open until May 30, 2008 giving the community the opportunity to submit evidence, reports, petitions, and letters to be included in the application file.
The Woodland Hills Warner Center Neighborhood Council Board had previously voted in a Special Meeting to strongly oppose the Club Red Square application and was represented at the hearing by August Steurer, Chair of the Planning and Land Use Committee, and Jim Anderson, Chair of the Public Safety Committee.
The hearing officer, Albert Landini, opened the hearing by reviewing a thin file that did not include any liquor license history and, based on the questions he asked, didn’t contain much in the way of background on the Club itself, the parking requirements in the neighborhood or the issues that have arisen in the community as a result of the Club’s activity.
Landini opened by asking where the patio was to be built. When he discovered that the patio already existed, he said it seems reasonable for a business to be able to use their property. At this point he opened up the testimony to those in the room who wanted to speak in opposition to the application.
August and Jim spoke of the NC Board’s opposition to the Club’s request and recounted the issues that the community is experiencing with the Club and stating simply that any enhancement of the operation would be inappropriate because of the current negative impact the Club has on the community.
A woman from the community spoke emotionally of her experience with the Club and the clientele that it attracts. “We’re here for our life. We have kids. We’re fighting for our neighborhood.”
Jonathon Brand of Councilmember Zine’s office came to testify in opposition to the Club’s application and spoke of phone calls, emails, letters and a petition from community members complaining about the problems that are caused by the patrons of Club Red Square.
Sgt. Kearney of West Valley Vice took the stand with the 3″ thick case file for Club Red Square and clarified that he does not have a position in favor or opposed to the application. He stated that he is simply there to report that during the summer months the Club is responsible for 2-3 calls per night and that the result is the same as taking one patrol car out of service. He spoke of the arrests that had been made in the club underage drinking, over-intoxication, drug use and robbery.
Mr. Landini took copius notes and indicated at least six times that the hearing was simply based on alcohol service and music for the patio but that the preponderance of negative testimony from the NC, Community, Police and Council Office indicated that the bigger issue is whether or not someone should initiate a revocation of the liquor license.
When he discovered that Club Red Square was going before the Police Commission on May 22, 2008 he ruled that the Zoning Application would be left open until May 30, 2008 which would allow the community to submit additional material and the applicant to review the submitted material.
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