A new dancing and live music nightclub, a location for a charter school and plans for Pixley Park are the focus of a busy Wednesday meeting for the Lodi Planning Commission.
The three projects all need the Planning Commission's approval before moving forward. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., Lodi.
Nightclub and pool hall
After the commission shot down his last proposal, Noe Juarez Luna will try again to get a use permit to open a night club and pool hall.
It would be located at 100 North Cherokee Lane, the former location of the Lobster Trap and previously the Back Bay restaurant. At the nightclub, Luna plans to have a DJ, bands, karaoke and open mic nights at the bar.
Luna originally wanted to open the nightclub in the shopping center at Cherokee Lane and Pioneer Drive that also houses Pizza World.
City staff recommended the nightclub not be allowed in that area because it would cause problems for homes near the nightclub. The Planning Commission and the Lodi City Council agreed and both rejected his proposal.
This time city staff is recommending the commission approve the use permit for the nightclub as long as Luna meets some requirements from the Lodi Police Department.
The nightclub needs adequate lighting in the parking lot and along Houston Lane. It also needs to install security cameras around the whole building, and the city might review and approve them before the business could open.
If the permit is approved, the city will review the business after it has been open for six months, one year and two years. The city has the ability to review and change or revoke the use permit if the business has problems with public drunkenness, the illegal sale of alcohol or drugs, disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.
Luna used to own La Luna Restaurant, which is also on Cherokee Lane. At a Lodi City Council meeting in June, he said he wanted to move to a new location because the old restaurant was too small, and he only had one restroom for men and one for women.
Business operators near the proposal location have varied opinions about the nightclub.
The new business could possibly bring more business to Angel's Beauty Salon, owner Angelica Torres said.
The main concern for Efrain Renteria, the owner of Franco's Pizza Buffet, is that there could be drunken driving problems with a new nightclub.
"Knowing La Luna, knowing the clientele, I don't know what's going to happen. ... I want them to control it right because we don't want to see drunkenness around," Renteria said.
Having owned a body shop near a bar before, Tariq Nazir, owner of T&N Body and Paint, has concerns. He once had a bar customer dance on top of one of the cars he was working on.
"I don't want that to see that happen here," Nazir said.
A new charter school
The commission will decide whether or not to let a charter school open for homeschooled children.
Rio Valley Charter School is hoping to lease a space at 1530 W. Kettleman Lane, so the school's 200 students can check in once a week with teachers. There will never be more than 30 students in the school at one time.
There will be classrooms and a teacher preparation room. The charter school will have children from kindergarten through high school, seven teachers and one administrator.
The students are required to meet with a teacher either at the school or at a local library once a week. The school will also have small group workshops and tutoring sessions. The school plans to open Monday.
In May, the Lodi Unified School District board of trustees voted to allow Rio Valley to operate under a charter secured with the district. It was a complete turnaround from the April meeting, when trustees essentially denied the proposal with a tie vote.
It was only back on the agenda because board member Joe Nava, among the dissenters, requested it be re-heard after he learned there was a waiting list for the district's current independent study program.
Located in a industrial area east of Highway 99, Pixley Park currently has waist-high weeds that even climb the fence. The park serves as a storm water basin.
The project at Beckman Road and Vine Street includes developing part of the 27-acre park with a sports field and play area while leaving some as a natural, passive park with a trail system.
The plans include multipurpose game courts, a multipurpose sports field, picnic and play areas, an outdoor classroom with a nature area and scenic viewpoint improvements. It would have infrastructure like a storm water pump station, landscaping and an irrigation system to prevent erosion.
The park would also have group concession stands, water fountains, park and sports field lighting, a parking lot and restrooms.
The commission will decide Wednesday whether to approve state-mandated environmental reports that are required for any new development projects.
If the project is approved, the city anticipates starting construction on the park in spring 2011.
Reporter Jennifer Bonnett contributed to this story.