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Lodi city staff recommend strict conditions for Ocean's; permits must be approved

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Posted: Friday, June 22, 2007 10:00 pm

Fayeq Rashid doesn't want to bring a headache to Downtown Lodi.

But he does want to liven up the city after dark.

This week, senior city planning staff recommended his controversial nightclub and restaurant proposal be given a chance - so long as it meets some very strict security conditions.

The city's Planning Commission will vote Wednesday night whether to issue Rashid the necessary use permits for Ocean's, proposed for 27 S. Sacramento St.

The business was formerly pitched as Rum Jungle, but Rashid decided the new name presents a calmer, less threatening image.

Rashid and his son, Rashid Rashid, will run the business together, the two said Friday. In a change from previous plans, they plan to limit the club to persons 21 years or older on nights when alcohol is served. They anticipate holding separate events for teens, where no alcohol will be served.

Up to nine retail shops would operate on the first floor of the business, with the club and restaurant above. The space is currently a large hole in the ground, the remains of Rashid Imports, which burned to the ground in May 2004.

The elder Rashid, a longtime Lodi businessman, said he's worked closely with the city to plan a safe business, and not the rowdy club many fear.

"I want people to be fair, to judge me after we have the business - not now," said Rashid, who moved to the United States 34 years ago from Ramallah, Palestine. "We're not bad people. We're trying to work with the city … we want to eliminate every problem."

City planners recommended 15 conditions for approval. Among them were several security measures:

• A minimum of three state-licensed - and Lodi Police Department approved - security guards must be present every time the club has live entertainment, plus an additional guard for every 25 patrons at the club.

• No one under 21 years of age will be permitted while alcohol is being served.

• The club will be subject to four reviews by the planning commission within the first two years.

In addition to the nightclub proposal, Lodi Planning Commissioners on Wednesday night will consider giving two developers the OK to move forward with their projects. The city, before approving actual subdivisions or commercial projects, first reviews whether a developer's project will fit into its annual 2 percent city growth cap. Wednesday's matter would not OK the actual project.
The requests to move forward include:
• A 19-home subdivision at 865 E. Olive Ave., requested by Taj Khan.
• A 7-home subdivision at 1911 S. Church St., requested by Brett and Kathleen Haring.
The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, at Carnegie Forum, 305 West Pine St.
- News-Sentinel staff.

Rashid said he had not yet read the city's recommended conditions, released Friday afternoon. But when asked, he said he could adhere to the above measures.

In a letter written to the city last week, Rashid said he'd even be willing to pay the city for extra police patrols outside the club on weekend nights.

Even so, he's got a ways to go to convince some residents of the merits of his proposal.

"This thing, if approved by the city, would be a disaster," said Sunil Yadav, a member of the Lodi Improvement Committee.

Yadav and several other members of the committee said a nightclub could lead to crowds of drunks and vandalism Downtown.

During their meeting this week, the committee said they will formally oppose the club's permit approvals.

Prior Downtown nightclubs have led to large and sometimes reckless crowds, Lodi Police Lt. Chris Piombo said earlier this spring.

In a letter to city planners in May, Piombo repeated the police department's stance on the club.

"I appreciate Mr. Rashid's effort to bring more business into the Downtown area … In this time of limited police resources and personnel, another nightclub … would not be in the best interest of public safety," he wrote.

Reached Friday, two city planning commissioners said they're undecided on Wednesday's vote.

"I'm going to keep my mind open," said Randy Heinitz, noting he's concerned about the parking crunch Ocean's could cause.

Doug Kuehne, also a commissioner, noted he hasn't had a chance to read up on the club.

"Off the top of my head, it looks good - like it would fit in with what we're trying to do (promoting growth) Downtown. But without looking at the details, I don't know," he said.

Contact reporter Chris Nichols at chrisn@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • posted at 5:44 am on Sat, Jun 23, 2007.

    Posts:

    Police approved security people sounds like a good idea. I wonder if Mojo's security people are police approved? If not, they should be.

     

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