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California Street Pub withdraws bid for patio

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Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:07 am, Fri Jun 10, 2011.

California Street Pub owner Christian Cole withdrew an application to expand his bar to a patio in the back after neighbors wrote letters and showed up at Wednesday night’s Lodi Planning Commission meeting to complain about noise and parking.

Before the commission even received public comment, most of the members said they would not be able to support the project.

Commissioners said the number of police calls, neighborhood opposition and city staff recommending the commission not move forward with the project all raised concerns.

“The timing of this is a little awkward for me, coming off an avalanche that is somewhat negative,” Commissioner Dave Kirsten said. “It might be a good opportunity to make amends with the neighbors and make amends with the city.”

About 30 residents showed up to the meeting to speak, but the bar’s attorney Jeffrey Fitzer withdrew the application before public comment started.

“We appreciate your time. We’ll regroup and take your constructive criticism,” he said to the commission.

City staff said one of their main concerns is the number of police calls to the bar. Since March 1, when Cole turned in the application, there have been 37 calls for physical fights, disturbances of the peace, public intoxication, public urination and noise complaints.

Associate Planner Immanuel Bereket said city staff felt that was too many calls for a bar.

“An outdoor seating and serving area would only create more problems for the Lodi Police Department, city staff and for the neighbors,” he said.

City Manager Rad Bartlam, who also is the city’s community development director, said the calls are coming from a handful of residents, who are generally concerned about noise and parking.

The city also received more than 10 letters complaining about the bar and asking the Planning Commission to reject the project.

Commissioner Debbie Olson said while she appreciates that the bar is investing in the area, she has concerns that so many neighbors are unhappy.

“I don’t think this is going to stay a quiet and sleepy corner, but it is clear to me you do have a problem, and maybe the problem is partially yours,” she said.

Cole said he only had 10 calls from January to March, and that as soon as the neighbors found out he wanted to open up the back patio, they started padding the calls with false reports.

He submitted a letter signed by eight neighbors who he said lived next to some of the residents who have complained saying they did not see a problem.

“What you are reading and seeing is not really what’s going on,” Cole said.

When Cole purchased the bar in 2009, he did not have to get a use permit unless he decided to expand it. The location was grandfathered in because it has existed since the 1960s, long before the city required use permits for bars.

Bartlam said usually the use permit process is fairly routine, but that is not the case in this situation.

“This is the reason we have the use permit requirement. It’s for when an establishment is not fitting in well with the neighborhood,” he said.

Fitzer said the owners have been frustrated that this project has been portrayed as an expansion. The owners hoped to put five tables and 24 seats on the back patio, but keep the occupancy at 86 people. Fitzer said they recognized it would be irresponsible to increase it because it is a neighborhood bar.

Cole said one of his main problems is when the front door opens, the noise travels to the surrounding houses.

He said the number of complaints would go down by having the only entrance be in the back during peak times, which would be after 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The area in the back is more commercial, Cole said, and the patio is surrounded by three concrete walls that would hold in sound.

Commissioner Randall Heinitz said Cole should have come before the Planning Commission before putting concrete on the back patio and letting people sit there. By moving forward, it aggravated neighbors, and annoyed city staff because he didn’t follow protocol, Heinitz said.

Heinitz recommended that Cole go back to neighbors and city staff and find a way to regain trust.

“Go back and have a nice neighborhood bar. After you make nice, and have the trust of neighbors and the city, then you can come back. ... I think what you want to do is great, but I think you are going at it the wrong way.”

Cole said he realizes when he first opened the business he made some mistakes and agitated people.

But during the past year and a half, he said he has monitored the noise, worked with police officers who patrol the area and reduced disturbances in the parking lot.

He does not believe he will ever be able to appease the neighbors.

“I really don’t believe in my heart they are going to give me a chance to change their perception of me. ... No matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, nothing is going to change,” Cole said.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 12:51 am on Sun, Jun 19, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Darrell, awesome comment!

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:16 am on Sat, Jun 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug.. I share your irritation concerning the power of politics and how people can get what they want by simply playing the political game instead of playing fair and earning what they get. People with power use politics to benefit themselves at the expense of others... your passion is the LCC and mine is national and state legislators who give lavish rewards to people who give money to their campaigns. No merit involved... Its why I fight against unions that force people to join when it should be voluntary... In my view, this activity is similar to rape, which is why it evokes such passion...

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:15 am on Thu, Jun 16, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Darrell Here's what irks me. This is the three amigos and the good old boys at their best. The headlines of this link read something like $40,000 fe waived for local winery.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 11:16 am on Wed, Jun 15, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    . Doug... sorry but I cannot find the passion you do in all this. My concern is about innocent people in residential areas who are subjected to the effects of bars and the elements attracted to them. Downtown Lodi in my opinion is a great place to take a walk and enjoy its atmosphere. I see children and adults downtown and do not see the problems you describe. I work downtown everyday and go for walks... its very pleasant. People can leave the downtown area if something happens they do not like. It is more difficult to leave your home . That is why I state bars should be banned from "residential"areas. Since this article is about what I just described, I think your passion belongs in a different thread.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:08 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    So, Darrell, it's ok for the winos to make fools of themselves downtown on a public sidewalk with constant foot traffic passing by, yet a cocktail lounge in a residential area that offers free rides home to overimbibers and troublemakers is on council's attention list? The owner of that wine bar downtown is a partnership, I believe, with owners who are well connected with the three amigos and own large vineyards and wineries, yet the three amigos were part of the majority vote that paid the $27,000 or so fee for them to open downtown because they seemingly cried broke? What a farce. I'm insulted my Lodi tax dollars benefit these wealthy good old boy wine interests. You should be too, Darrell.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:50 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug stated...Darrell, how about the wine tasting room downtown with the tables on the sidewalk

    Doug, I was commenting about residential areas... you are talking about business area which is a different thing...

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:48 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Keith stated...Darell and Jen, Don't you think you are both exaggerating a little bit there?It's that kind of attitude that causes local establishments to suffer while just trying to make an honest buck.

    Keith, from my perspective no exaggeration at all... The bar should move out of the residential neighborhood. Honest Buck???? Keith, don't you think you are exaggerating a great deal here... Honest Buck??? Is that what you call it?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:42 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Keven stated...Darrel you are against alcohol in general anyways right?

    It might appear that way... but no... I am not against alcohol anywhere. What I stated was that residential neighborhoods should not have to contend with such atrocious elements that exist. To me a bar should never be in such an area. In addition, bars whose primary business is to sit and drink for long periods of time shouldn't be allowed to exist in any area that effects neighboring businesses in a negative way... A restaurant that serves alcohol to accompany dinner and dance type situations should be OK as long as it is well controlled and does not effect the area negatively.
    I realize my preferences are not a reality but I wish they were.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:14 pm on Mon, Jun 13, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Just for the sake of full disclosure, Darrel you are against alcohol in general anyways right? I know we've talked about this before but it would help newer people to understand where you are coming from when you make a statements about "such atrocious elements that exist".

    Keith, the security and patrons may not go for that sort of behavior, but you can't argue that 37 calls in just a few months is excessive and means some of the people being attracted to the establishment are not the kind of people you'd want at the establishment. I've been looking for a place to go with my wife locally for something different than just movies and dinner. She likes to dance so I've been looking there CSP came up in a few discussions with people and they all said the same thing, it's fine if you don't mind drug deals and fights on a regular basis. Even my more rambunctious friends say they won't go there anymore it is so bad. CSP needs to clean up it's image and do a better job of being a friendly pub, not the corner bar.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:56 pm on Mon, Jun 13, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Darrell, how about the wine tasting room downtown with the tables on the sidewalk? Isn't that the cellar door? Just check out the beligerent loudmouth winoos there that seem to be much more of a problem than the neighborhood bar many are complaining. about. There's a stretch limo there that offers rides home to those who overimbibe. Do you see any of the other drinking establishments with the same service? And the wine bar downtown is right in the center of foot traffic in livable, lovable Lodi and doesn't seem to be very well security wise with overimbibers constantly loudmouthing and no one to monitor them or ask them to keep it down or move on. Isn't that the wine room that Lodi council actually footed the $27,000 or so to move in downtown because they said they couldn't afford it, when my thoughts tell me they just didn't think a downtown tasting room would be very successful until the three amigos ponied the bucks for them to stick their neck out?

  • Keith Boschee posted at 4:21 pm on Mon, Jun 13, 2011.

    Keith Boschee Posts: 2

    Darell and Jen, Don't you think you are both exagerating a little bit there? There is NO WAY all of what you say is true, beleive me, I know the majority of the patrons of this bar and those who work security. They don't go for that kind of behaivior. Get real folks. It's that kind of attitude that causes local establishments to suffer while just trying to make an honest buck.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:03 pm on Mon, Jun 13, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug... are you suggesting if you want to create a residential neighborhood that is peaceful and appropriate, you would encourage a bar to open its doors near by? What difference does it make where the people came from in this case? In general, bars are not a good thing for children to be around... they do bring an element that I do not think is constructive or positive for society. Bars are a symptom of what is wrong... not right. Residential neighborhoods should not have to contend with such atrocious elements that exist.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:01 pm on Sun, Jun 12, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Lives 2 blocks away and is sure all those bad boys are from the local tavern?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:50 am on Fri, Jun 10, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Jen Dentone posted at 9:06 pm...
    . Since 2009 we have had to deal with public urination on our property, vandalisim, loitering, trespassing, fights, etc. I have witnessed drunk drivers and drug use right outside my home from the patrons of this bar. There's nothing better than being woken up at 2 am ..

    Ms Dentone posted what is normally expected when bars are within close distance to residential neighborhoods... Ms Detone's account of what happens is so much more likely than what Christian Cole claims... but of course since tax revenue comes to the city... Ms Detone is a second class citizen and does not deserve to have peace of mind that one might desire... money talks.

  • Jen Dentone posted at 9:06 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Jen Dentone Posts: 2

    I, for one, am happy to see that Mr. Cole withdrew his bid. I am a neighbor of this bar that has had to deal with numerous issues due to the patrons of this bar. I realize when I bought my house in 2003 that there was an existing bar 2 blocks away but we never had any problems until Mr. Cole purchased it. Since 2009 we have had to deal with public urination on our property, vandalisim, loitering, trespassing, fights, etc. I have witnessed drunk drivers and drug use right outside my home from the patrons of this bar. There's nothing better than being woken up at 2 am because some drunk fools parked next to your house and are being obnoxious getting back into their vehicles. I have walked onto my front lawn to find syringes. I have had to break up numerous, drunken fights. I now just spray them with the garden hose until they leave my property. I just want to live peacefully and raise my kids in a safe environment.

    I don't hate bars. I am a bartender in fact. I have a problem with the patrons of this particular bar. If Mr. Cole could prove he can control his clientele then I would have no problem with his bid to use the patio but at the moment, there are still too many problems.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 7:14 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mr. Scott, you better do some research on the fact that Ro$ewood was fined for exceeding maximum occupancy load. Are you maybe one of the LLC investors? And maybe in the old Hazel's. Remember the group that bled all of the assets from Hazel's and filed for bankruptcy? I know there were plenty o local investors in that venture scheme also. It's also a coincidence that Mr. Munson sold the complete liquor license from the Wine & Roses to himself at the Ro$ewood last year for a whopping $350,000 or so. Looks like Ro$ewood does more bar business than it should to satisfy the ABC regulations that alcohol sales cannot exceed more than a certain percentage of their restaurant sales and keep their license, or very close to it. My point is, Mr. Jackson, that Mr. Cole was going to be denied his request for a patio in the back, while those like Mr. Munson who abuse the privilege by breaking the law are still allowed to have the privilege returned with a slap on the hand. And where's the nice high rise downtown hotel that the three amigos on city council reserved a spot for Mr. Munson to build? Wasn't he given a year or so to proceed with some plans just to keep other outside developers away from that area. Didn't the city of Lodi give some lease concessions to Mr. Munson so he could "afford" to open the Ro$ewood? Were there other concessions, such as outside dining area, utility bill discounts and others? Why was Mr. Cole treated so negatively?

  • Jackson Scott posted at 4:20 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    Doug, you got off the point.... as usual. I too have been a patron of the Barking Dog from an illegal age up until it was sold, and I've also been in the CA St Pub about 4-5 times. These bars, while both excellent for their target audience, couldn't be on further ends of the spectrum.

    Barking Dog: 50's PLUS older crowd w/ the once in a while group of 30-40's, C&W, Tony Orlando & Dawn on the jukebox, the infamous cage, cocktails, smokers, some hard core "alkies." Pub: 21-35, beer & shots, LOUD music 99% of which our group didnt know, tattoos, black t-shirts, backwards hats, bump & grinding.

    Like usual Doug spins a story into the GOB's conspiracy to only allow the white elite run a successful business. If the rumor you heard was true Doug doesn't that blow your theory right out of the water? Why would the GOB CC send the LFD down to Rosewood and site Munson for too many people? That doesn't make sense based on your 1000's of posts. Which is it? Or are you having a "senior moment"?

    I wish Mr. Cole well. We can't have every hip spot in town in the downtown section. He simply needs to build the trust of his neighbors & the City... and follow protocol.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:35 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Glad to see something go against a drinking establishment... I would rather it did not exist ... too bad it opened in the first place.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 2:51 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I would venture to guess that Mr. Munson must not be too cozy with City Hall if he was fined $10,000.00.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:18 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    Please, someone in town open a respectable dance hall so i can go dancing with my wife without worrying about the cops.

    At this rate I may have to open one myself but then I'd be working and have no time to dance (not that any of you would want to see me dance, think bulldog with back legs asleep).

  • Doug Chaney posted at 1:28 pm on Thu, Jun 9, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Welcome to the world of the Lodi good old boys foundation, Mr. Cole. I live in the neighborhood of your bar and the previous owners made a lot of money from me when I first came to Lodi in 1986 to participate in the new construction at the General Mills plant as the foreman for the fire protection contractor. The Barking Dog, 211, Buck Stop, Roundhouse and El Rancho were the main watering holes preferred by those other many construction workers, local residents and even GM employees. Since the downtown makeover, the emphasis has been on the capability of nearly, most probably every restaurant in the city of Lodi having an alcohol use permit. The above mentioned cocktail lounges were always the late night target of LPD. I don't see them hiding behind the Fishy store on Lockeford and California late in the evenings much anymore, but that used to be a given spot to see LPD parked between 1 and 2 AM to wait for the last minute tipplers to depart for the evening. I'm not sure whether they use the same tactics at present, but those particular bars were known for good times, dancing and a good fisticuff once in a while. My point is that when downtown on Thursday or Friday evening, most often there are groups tippling at the beer/restaurant or wine tasting room up further on School Street. The noise and pushing and screaming matches, arguing in very loud voices, shoving matches and other distractions caused by overimbibers seems to be tolerated by Lodi's elite. Those that conduct their drinking sessions in a bothersome manner are also not making a good impression on families that are on the streets heading for the movies, shopping, or dinner. It should be the responsibility of the owner to ensure that those overimbibers are served no more alcohol and ordered to either leaver or remain inside the business until a designated driver or cab is available to drive them home. After all, aren't those public sidewalks that their "outdoor" dining areas complete with wrought decorative fencing that these "preferred customers" of the Lodi planning commission and city hall considered a part of their business? I think, Mr. Cole, that you offended the city fathers by pouring that concrete slab, probably without permit, and they're given that excuse to deny your petition for an outside patio. Rumor says the Rosewood was recently fined $10K for exceeding their occupancy limit? So why doesn''t the city demand stricter regulations of those who are given the opportunity to offer outside dining, drinking, and some smoking areas who refuse to play by the rules? Of course, Mr. Munson seems to have an insider path to city hall and I wonder why the News-Sentinel doesn't report incidents such as these ? Good luck on your battle with the good old boys and city hall, Mr. Cole.



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