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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Convenience Store Appeal Is Set Go to Before City Council

• Staff Recommends Denial of Applicant

BY BILL KOENEKER

After several continuances sought by the ownership, MMK Enterprises, Inc. of the Circle K convenience store located at 21216 Pacific Coast Highway, an appeal hearing sought by the applicant is expected to go forward on Monday, Oct. 22.
The appellant wants the city council to overturn the planning commission’s decision to not allow the store to sell beer and wine.
The city council was scheduled to hear the appeal at its regularly scheduled meeting back in July when its was postponed and another cancellation was sought for a rescheduled date on Aug. 27 until Sept. 10.
At that time council members said they wanted the matter scheduled for a date certain on Oct. 22
The planning staff is recommending that the council deny the appeal and also deny the Conditional Use Permit for “the sale of beer and wine for offsite consumption as an accessory use to the existing Circle K convenience store.”
The proposal was rejected by the planning commission on two separate occasions.
During the previous hearings, commissioners were apparently swayed by public opinion that there were already too many outlets where alcoholic beverages can be obtained along that stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.
The appellant contends that the basis for denial on the grounds that there are a concentration of too many businesses selling alcohol for off-site consumption is not legal and cannot be implemented by the municipality. Planning staff disagrees.
In May 2007, an application was received by the planning department for a CUP for store use, which included a proposal to sell beer and wine, as well as the interior remodel of the existing service station.
At that meeting, commissioners heard from homeowners, attorneys and others who protested the opening of another location for the sale of alcoholic beverages given the proximity of so many other outlets in the immediate area.
A second meeting was no different when some of the same group of critics came back to the commission to show opposition.
Critics have vowed to show up again at the upcoming hearing. “We are going to be there. We are not going to let them get away with this,” one critic said. “We will have another petition.”
The staff carried out a reevaluation of the new CUP application and “determined that onsite conditions, which led the planning commission to the aforementioned conclusion, have not changed since 2007.”
During his presentation before the commission, the applicant’s consultant Don Schmitz said they were willing to accept almost any conditions the commission or the public would want to impose for approval of the permit.
The applicant also unsuccessfully argued the sale of beer and wine “will be an incidental sale item to the nearly 5000 goods currently offered for sale at the market.”

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